Sunday, February 10, 2008

THE ART OF 3D WORLDS Brave New World: Genesis, Evolution and Revolution of- URU-MOUL-MORE








MASTERWORK REVIEW - MYST ONLINE: URU LIVE
Cyan Worlds/ GameTap
Cyan Worlds Creation of a Stunning Virtual World Sets the Gold Standard in MMO Game Development

All Myst, Riven, D'ni, Uru Myst Online URU Live images, text, sound and music (c) Cyan Worlds, Inc. All rights reserved Myst(r), Riven(r), D'ni(r) Uru(r), respective Logos(r) Cyan Worlds, Inc. No part may be copied or reproduced without express, written permission of Cyan Worlds, Inc.

All the images in this specific article are from the Cyan Worlds Publications and remain fully and solely the property of Cyan Worlds, Inc., All Rights Reserved.

Myst Online URU Live (MOUL) was published by GameTap and hosted online on the GameTap site from 2007 thru April 4, 2008. All references and content from the GameTap hosting of MOUL remain copyright GameTap All Rights Reserved.


Photo Credits: Group Picture of Explorers in the City, February 9, 2008, courtesy of CausticSarcasim, View of the Beautiful Halls of Kveer, MOUL, View of Explorers Talking to Dr. Marie Sutherland in Kirel Neighborhood, Ae'gura City, MOUL.

UPDATE February 2010
New Activity has been noted in the Cavern by the DRC and they are going to investigate. This means that MOUL URU may in fact be re opened. Further updates will follow when available.

UPDATE November 2009
Cyan Worlds has received the rights to URU MOUL back from GameTap for the purposes of reopenning the game in what they are calling the Myst Online Restoration Experiment. (MORE) This is an exciting new step forward for this remarkable title and may include dynamic content contributed by the player community as well. As of November 2009 Cyan plans to restore Access to the world of URU and MOUL from Cyan hosted files once development schedule of ongoing projects allows.

UPDATE October 2008
Cyan Worlds has had to put the revival of MOUL on hold until other projects are finished. This is NOT a cancellation but a hold and updates will be posted in the future about a new Timeline.

UPDATE December 2008
Cyan Worlds has announced it will do a provisional open sourcing of URU MOUL to allow the community to continue play with a central Cyan held data set and unknown process for modding.

MOUL Introduced

In 1987, a rancher stumbled across a cavern that led deep underground beneath the New Mexico desert. He found the remains of huge structures and vast complexes buried on the shores of a subterranean lake lit by phosporesecent algae.




The site of the discovery

Further exploration by archaeolgists and scientists discoverd these were the remains of a lost and hitherto totally unkown civilization that had flourished for 10,000 years beneath the surface and then vanished 200 years ago, with no survivors. This culture, the D'ni, possesed and had mastered some unique technologies that allowed them to move instantly from place to place and to discover and colonize new realms and Ages through the use of special books that "linked" two locations and allowed travel between then. The Art of Linking relied on special mastery of the skills to "write" descriptions of these locations and thus reach them. The D'ni also had masterful abilities to construct and maintain massive technology and cities using elemental forces of nature. They had a long and proud history and culture, their own unique spoken and written language and a complex society and recorded history going back thousands of years and beyond their time here on Earth.



A D'ni Linking Book

Records and linkings books were discovered that allowed explorers and scientists and researchers to travel to not only many of the remaining D'ni structures beneath New Mexico, but beyond to other Ages they had colonized, used and developed. Over the years since this remarkable discovery, the restoration of the ruins was directed by a council of scientists called the D'ni Restoration Council, DRC, and they worked to stabalize, restore and open areas for study and for visitors to explore.



The Kadish Gallery in the city of Ae'gura

There were, as there always are, human elements and challenges, personalities clashed, different philosophies developed and split from each other depending on the viewpoint of either preservation, or restoration, and the use of the ruins and discoveries. There was as well a remarkable separate history going back in time hundreds of years involving several families that were partly D'ni and party human from the surface, and their story came to be known and of great interest. In 2004, efforts to open the ruins to wider visitation were attempted but that did not last and the access was shut down. Once again in 2006, this access was attempted and many thousands visited the Cavern as the underground realm has come to be known, mostly to visit one of the cities, Ae'guera, located on a island in the centre of the huge lake that is the center of the subterranean D'ni world.



The City and view of the Arch of Kerath


These visitors have had use of the linking technology of the D'ni and other mechanisms that allow them to see and visit the D'ni structures and Ages. The DRC continued to opperate and oversee this large influx of vistors and continued to work to restore additional areas which were opened up for visitors and research over the entire year of 2007.



Majestic Ruins of the city, Ae'gura

The family mentioned whose history has emerged closely linked with significant events of the D'ni civlization and its Fall had continued to be very important for events in the Cavern, for the daughter of one of the main figures of this family, Yeesha, had evidently remained in the area, travelling by secret ways and means to watch over unfolding events. She was also in touch with an indigenous species of creatures called the Bahro who had the innate ability to link simliar to the linking book technolgy and who had been used for these and other abilities by the D'ni as servants and slaves. The Bahro would be significant in events to come. At this time, the future is uncertain, for the restoration and visitation is to be stopped once again, the visitors, the efforts of the DRC, and the future fate of the vast and enigmatic remains of the D'ni and their culture are at this time unkown.



The city of Ae'gura - view across the Lake to the Cavern

This is the story of URU, born in 2004 by Cyan Worlds, one of the most innovative and remarkable computer game companies that has yet appeared. URU was initially planned to be a multiplayer interactive story based game, allowing players to visit and interact in the game world in a dynamic and presistent very high quality totally free range 3D world, with individual avatars that were capable of complete movement, interaction and use of the environment and free communication thru game devices. The beta phase sponsored by Ubi Soft was cancelled before public release but there were reportedly an estimated 40,000 players interested in joining, and the nascent community that formed in support of this unique game proved indominatble and very strong and they continued to support development, first of the stand alone single player version and Expansion packs released, then the final game in a series of Myszt games that had preceeded and followed URU, and then an online reduced form of the game in what are called Shards, or individual smaller servers and on to the re- release of the game as MOUL or Myst Online URU LIve published by GameTap and Turner Broadcasting in 2007.

This is the story of the most remarkable multiplayer game world ever yet attempted and its evolution and the revolutionary achievements that Cyan has created with their dedication to a remarkable idea and its fulfillment.

The game itself is first and last, a multiplayer experience. The vast game world is freely open and available through stages of personal exploration and solution to each and every player equally. There are no exclusive guilds or castes, no ranking by player success or power or violent domination or conquest. This makes URU and MOUL a remarkable expression of democracy in action, open to players of all ages, backgrounds, walks of life and outlook. There are men, women, and children of all ages playing, and in the communty of thousands that has grown over the years to cover the entire world and region. They mingle in the game daily and were part of the in game story line as it was released in a fully realized and vital way.

The game story is the basis of MOUL, for it is much much more than a beautifully rendered 3D world. It contains and is an expression of a complex and deep history that is the purpose the telling and yet which is the setting for current and ongoing events of all kinds. One of the unique qualities technically was the commitment Cyan made to making it both a complex and fully realized work, i.e. graphically almost perfect in its rendering of a 3 D world with full sound, movement, realistic phsyics,



Beautifully Rendered 3D world

the ability of the avator visitor to run, walk, jump, climb, and use things in the world, but also for the world to be persisent and "seeable" for everyone. This means when anything in the world changes, some one new appears, someone changes something, turns on or off something in a public age, everyone else sees that same changes, i.e. it really does change. This means the game engine and the mechanics of the game need to be constantly re scanning and resetting everything in the game world and responding to all the changes.

This alone is an amazing achievemnt of game technology. Combined with beautifully rendered and textured and conceived environments, the world of MOUL and URU is stunning literaly and has scenes and Ages from all kinds of climates, forms and regions: jungles, artic wastes, wind blown deserts, arid bad lands, rich and lush mountain scenery, mystical alien locations, with living and dynamic creatures and life forms, and everywhere, the ruins and the vast and at times awesome structures, remains, buildings, interiors and cities of the D'ni.





Ahonnay Cathedral and Linking Book

The player is free to discover all of this on their own and to also interact and mingle with the other explorers thorugh use of an interface device called the KI which is a module that each player owns and uses to type text on the screen, to be listed in each Age and area as being present and therefore communicable with, and also there is voice chat available so that each player is fully able to communicate in all areas of the game.

This allows the communty of players to know and be known, in the world of the game and to achieve independence in a remarkable way that literally has to be seen, in a healthy and responsible and safe environment to be understood and enjoyed. This is not a world of vilence and risk and threat of annialiation, but a realm of adventure and fellowship that few of us have experinced in real life let alone in a game.

The story unfolds at the pace of the individual experience. There is a vast literature now on line in various forms, sites, and forums, as the game has been wildly popoular with hundreds of thousands of players over the years and many long lived organizations such as the Guild of Greeters who exist to help new players learn and enjoy this world,



The Warm Welcome of the Guild of Greeters in GOG Hood

the DRC itself has its own very informative and useful information site for info and history,
URU Obsession, and many more. This wider community is available to help players learn about and enjoy the story and as with any living community, many events and in game world activities have evolved and are enyoyed by hundreds, parties, with live music, special events, parades such as the St Patrick's Day Parade, Christmas parties, a choral group who perform professional quality live concerts, races, relays, organized hunts, and major gatherings can and do occur at any time coordinated through the network of forums and real life communication in a manner that is remarkable to witness.

Player Interaction

A very important point to make, the game has been dynamic in many ways, the players interacting with the in game story and characters has changed and altered the path of events. Players directly interact with the story characters, and the story unfolds from their conversations and actions. One of the players who was active in explor-ation and research of the native life forms of the D'ni worlds was taken along on an expedition outside the pods to study events unfolding there and then reported back to the community. Another player was able to meet with one of the DRC scientists and gain access on behalf of the community to the Lake Lighting project allowing players to monitor the progress of the work to raise the light levels of the lake in the Cavern. During the exicitng events of the season, at one point, Yeesha appeared in the neighborhood of one of the players, as a hologram image, an event that stirred much interest and it was possibly due to a long effort of the explorers gathered in that neighborhood to get a message to her through group activity.



Yeesha Image appearing in Sil'ouette's Bevin

So Cyan's goal of creating an interactive dynamic world has succeeded beyond anyone's imagining, and the support has been steady and deep and strong. The challenges have been to match technolgy of game design, and production and online interactive settings with the demands of the game and the massive player base. It is a hugely complex task to produce such a setting and to continually add new material, content and areas, manage the flow of story and community participation and one that pushes the envelope of the possible constantly. The game producer has to estimate the wide range of possible player home systems, i.e entire generations of older and newer computers, internet connections, broadband capacities, international vs national hookups and connectivity and the demands of a high quality envirnment and the downloads required to constantly install newly added material and content on top of all of that.

Each item and action in a complex 3D game world is created by code in the programming. This involves millions of lines of complicated code, plus the hardware delivery of the results. Each new addition or change can and may affect any of these previous codes. So you can imagine the complexity of maintianing live and keeping refreshed and updated such an environment AND having a commitment ot the highest quality of truth to the story, and to the community's highest shared experience, family values and courtesy and fairness in the game environment.

It is the equivelant of writing, producing and permforming the most complex movie you have ever seen, like Gone with the Wind or the russian War and Peace or Saving Private Ryan, BUT the same company is actually inventing the story, AND the world it is told about, Creating not only the characters and creatures but their entire species and races and past histories and doccumenting them AND writing their languages to do so in, and then translating them....and buildling the actual buildings from scratch the movies is filmed in AND making the camersas that film the story, AND overseeing the construction of ALL the theaters that show the movie, plus selling the tickets (though this part is helped by the publishers like UBI SOFT and GAMETAP) AND then overseing the performances to make sure everyone behaves and has a good time, and also continually making NEW movies to show in the same theater about the same story line that are fun and exicitng and at the same time continually upgrading the production facility, the sets, the cast, the camersa, the theaters, and all of it all the same time.



Er'canna, one of the remarkable worlds of the D'ni




One of the Beautiful Garden Ages



Mysterious Teledahn Hides Many Secrets



Winter Came Unexpectedly to Eder Delin



The Islands of Ahonnay Are Filled with Surprises

So, it is a miracle that URU has achieved what it has. And equally remarkable that Cyan has perservered over many years, that the hundreds of people who have worked on it have kept the story and the game focus at such a high level, and the thousands upon thousands of development hours have created a game that more thousands of players have enjoyed so much.

The best proof is your own experience, so it remains for you to visit this remarkable world while you can, live and on line, as you can at GameTap, or in the off line single player earlier versoin of URU, URU: The Complete Chronicles. It is a remarkable experience and one that is not to be missed.

The game itself and the story that unfolded in MOUL Live this past year exemplilfies the achievments of Cyan and this unique game world. The main city of Ae'gura is a awesomely beautiful place, with vast vistas across the underground lake that surrounds it to the Cavern walls far beyond. You can roam freely amid the silent ruins of the huge buildings the D'ni left behind, standing mute and quiet with the dust of eons about them. This was the setting of stirring events over the past year, events triggered by the efforts of restoration and then the unfolding story that emerged that the Bahro were fighting among themselves and that this war threatened everyone and everything in the present.



Vast and Enigmatic Ruins of the D'ni

In the year of game play of the First Season, the DRC members, the scientists and archaeolgoists in charge of the restoration were directed by a strong new figure, Cate Alexander, a financier of somewhat obscure background. She had a steely and firely nature and ran the restoration with an iron hand. Her shadow fell across the entire effort and she and the other DRC figures would interact with players real time, in very lively discussions, and debates. They would appear at random times, and word would spread through the Cavern via KI and people would gather. After a while the limits of the in game population were reached quickly for such events and a remarkably effective



Kirel-Special Neighborhood for Guild Recruiting

Relayer Corps was created entirely with player resources to relay news and live events to everyone on a subscription list, so in game Wire News Service was born. Other in game player created services much appreciated were the Guild of Greeters, who has excelled at helping new and current players with aid in game, from their own neighborhood and with an excellent website filled with FAQ's and information. Other services are the Cavern Today, a daily news service that posted daily events often as soon as they were happening. As the Guilds were recreated and grew, they have begun to fill their functions as well, the Maintainers began to research and work on creating new player crafted Ages, and other Guilds and groups began to work with research and support of other functions in the cavern.








Cate Alexander, new leader of DRC

Other figures from the past excavation of the city emerged as the year went on, Dr Watson was another strong figure of the past and he returned with news and to interact with the ongoing efforts. Another contreversial in game character Douglas Sharper was active, he was a kind of a game guide,and hunter who dealt with some of the wildlife that at times appears to threaten exploration. Other dramas unfolded and tragedy hit the Cavern when the teen ages daughter of one of the scientists was trapped in a cave in that occured in one of the main city buildlings and after a tortous period of being trapped alive died at the hands of a rogue Bahro.

Finally after the events of the year, and continual restoration and opening of new areas and discoveries, the city was overwhelmed by an attack of air born Bahro battling in the skies and the last major in game story interaction occured when Yeesha, the daughter of a key family deeply tied to D'ni history, appeared to warn explorers that destruction was coming and that all must find a home...and then promised to draw the Bahro away to that all could escape.








A Bahro in a hood







Yeesha and Bahro in Kveer with Explorers


The story unfolded at first dynamically but after a time, during the first season, new content was released in an episodic format, during a week each month. New areas and new in game items were in fact released all through the year,









Explorers receiving linking book for Er'canna

and these included new Ages with complex and intriguing structures and areas to explore and unravel, new environmental pods that the D'ni evidently used to observe and study alien environments, major regions that directly affected activity in the city such as Er'canna a remrkable region that has a D'ni harvesting factory and transport system intact and workable that was devoted to producing special biologic additives to help sustain the lake algae that lit the cavern. Players could help feed the lake algae with special pellets that they had to figure out how to cook and then drop in the lake.

Other complex activites existed apart from the on going story line, that allowed the player to explore and help familiarlize themselves with the game world AND also help in the restoration effort such as the marker hunts which helped calibrate a GPS type orienting device called the Great Zero, a massive achievement of D'ni remnant technology restored by the DRC, located in the centre of the city and that establshed a location for the KI personal device also left over from the D'ni civilzation.



The Mysterious Great Zero

And all during the year and the active life of the gameworld of URU and MOUL, there have continued events, of all kinds, activities involving new and evolving organziations, such as the Guilds which are groups dedicated to specific activities such as maintenace and exploration of ages discovered and opened, communication, mapping and the like, other organizations to study the wildlife,








Unwin, Neghalin Pod





Life in Payiferin Pod Region



The Pods Offer Chance to Study New Exotic Regions


or to promote interst and knowledge of the D'ni language (which can be and is actively written and spoken), literature, history, art, architecture, contests, musical events






Christmas Concert- the Cavern Choir

parties and also an excellent in game feature, orientations daily for new players. There are in game aides called ResEngs, short for Restoration Engineers, and they operate daily to help support explorers and players, being able to help anyone caught in a wall or trapped by some element of the game physically, and they give daily orientation talks on various topics in a beginners area.







Explorers Saying Good-By to Bronson and Dougherra,ResEngs, Beginners Bevin

All about the city proper were neighborhoods that were the homes of the D'ni, and each player is assigned a neighborhood on entry into the game.




Bevin, a Neighorhood in the city of Ae'gura




Party in a Neighborhood

These are homes of a sort, for each player and can be changed or each player can create their own. Each player also has a personal area, called their Relto. This is a island set in a cloud topped region that has a house that is their home away from home, it contains a wardrobe that allows them to fully customize their in game



Interior of Your Relto with Wardrobe and Bookcase

character or avator: change appearance, age, size, sex, hair, and all features, plus standard clothing and clothing items that are found in the game.



Your Relto Home

Also in the Relto is a bookcase that holds the linking books that each player will keep once they find the age or access it. Each age has as well what are called Journey Cloths, that are spaced through out an Age or region and allow the player to return to that point, once the cloth is touched, a sort of mini save game. The Relto is customized by beautiful features that are discoverd as the player advances through the game, through the finding of Relto Pages, each page creates a new feature in the Relto and include special featuers such as a pool and waterfall, beatiful trees including a stately pine and fall color trees, an island with a special setting for lighted jewels found also through out the game, grass, flowers, suns, storms, and much more.

So the progress of a player in MOUL is marked by many things, all of them individual and all of them fully in the control of the player. The player can play alone or together, there are a few areas that require coopration to complete, so people do have to work together, but the fellowhip and the sharing of the game environemnt is indeed one fo the things that makes URU and MOUL a unqiue and remakarkable experience.





Explorers - Great Stair, Ae'gura city



The Future?

This has been a brief overview of the past year and the past years of the development of URU and MOUL. It is a remarkable achievement for Cyan and for game development at large. The revolution that personal computers has wrought on modern life is unparalleled since the invention of moveable type and printed books. And in the larger revolution of the digital age, there are trend setters and visionaries like Cyan that go ahead and make the path for us to follow.

Entertainment and story telling remain essential in our modern times...and the new and surprising, the intriguing and the mysterious help lure us beyond the limits and the demands and walls of our daily lives. This helps maintain the health of our spirit and our dreams.



Kadish Age, a Place of dreams.....

Currently MOUL and URU are going through yet another transformation, for the year of sponsorship by GameTap and Turner are ending on April 4 and URU and MOUL will close for a while. The demands of an online communty social based adventure game are great, and the committment and resources needed to maintain one of the quality of MOUL are equally great. It is an evolution of a trendsetting format, and one that is essential to the health and purpose of gaming in the modern world. There are literally hundreds of contemporary CGI games that are based on violence, domination, conquest, and the most basic instincts of human nature. Cyan and its partners in publishing and supporting URU and walked a differnt and much much more worthwhile path. It is not an easy one, but the value is real and the journey is very worth the effort. There is no way to produce such a game half way or as a pale shadow of its own potential. The Dance is worth the price of its making.



Yeesha Dances in the Rain

Though it will not remove the risks and the angst of caring about the past, present and future of MOUL and URU, one believes what we are seeing are natural growth pains of not only a remarkable universe, that of the D'ni, which intermingles with our own, but we are also seeing the birth of a new game genre, MMOA, Massive Multiplayer Online Adventure. As both, a story and a new game form, there are inevitable birth challenges, as the vision of creative genius does not come along with a complete manual, it takes time, huge effort, dedication and ongoing courage to persevere.

There are a number of remarkable factors which have made the success happen so far, Cyan and the genius of the visionaries there, the community that the story has attracted and the very high standards of compassion, courtesy and mutual respect and fun, and the ongoing support of a number of publishers, and the game world as a whole, and ongoing generations of technology, video, game code, engine and hardware that have made the vision of URU possible.

Those who have been part of the game community over the past years are all of us part of this evolution and revolution - future development will require consideration of the needs of the future on the part of everyone involved and the supportive community as a whole.



What will the Future Bring?

This dynamic game world is constantly evolving, and there are major risks and changes constantly, but the overall fact is that living entities must grow and change, to survive and prosper. They must push the limit of resources and possiblity and then with a vision of the future form, push through and beyond what has been possible. Each new form of URU has seen improvement and much improved chances for the players, to enjoy, to interact, and to be part of a growing dynamic story that is remarkable depth and subtlety, and potential.



Nightfall is a time of peace in Phil Henderson's Relto

The unique features of URU and MOUL are that there is a width and depth of the world that invites and allows all to come in and be part of something that is only partially revealed to any one player and which is unfolding in a way that continues to invite interest and participation. There is great creative potential here, and the forms are evolving.

Among other remarkable self starting events that happen regularly in the Cavern are Tours of the Glyphs that exist and were created it is believed by the Bahro, at least some of them, these are detailed and remarkable original art works and iconic symbols of the history and the story of events in D'ni history and the journey of Yeesha, the daughter of Atrus who figures in many of the Myst games and stories. These tours have been led for years by two very talented and dedicated explorers, Ireenquench and Ti'chelle and they do a marvelous job of expounding on and sharing the history and the depth of the D'ni and the Bahro. This is another remarkable example of the breadth and capacity of the URU world to foster participation and group activity for the Tours are a wonderful sharing of past research and current ideas from all explorers so ably invited by these two remarkable faciltators. There are many examples of self created events, activities and ongoing player interaction that are unqiue among mutliplayer game environments here in MOUL.




Ireenquench and Ti'chelle start another Glyph Tour in Kemo Age

I believe it is important to achieve this persepective and to see how it fits with the needs of the overall picture in order to detach and allow the changes to happen. GameTap did what they could to support the game as did Ubi Soft, and as does Cyan continue to work in its own way, and so do all in the devout player community. For this story and this virtual world is created by the players as much as anyone, this is what makes MOUL special and remarkable and alive, it is about everyone. One of the veteran and long time players, SuperGram, a much respected figure in the game, told me several years ago that URU is not only a game where you play as you (U are U: URU) but it is even more importantly about about US, all of us, where WE are US.

Anybody can visit the city and some of the Ages in the stand alone game, but what gives it the remarkable life in the on line form, is the life of all everyone involved, each and any and all the future explorers who will and may come in the days and years ahead. And the way the game allows all to interact, to contribute and to particpate, each in our own way and style, this is what makes URU and MOUL worth the belief and the effort and the fun today and hopefully to come. This is why it is not just trying to hold on to the past, or preserve something but a creative act of faith to help and support Cyan in what may come. It is incumbent on the game industry to support the hightest potneial for itself not only for success and marketing but for the overall appreciation of the potential for this remarkale new form of entertainment and education that is indeed the medium of the future.

I am convinced that there remains much to be realized and that the forms and the way it will work are in flux now and this is a necesary part of the development process for mutliplayer game environments. It is not enought to just expand the size of the cast of NPC's to hundreds or thousands, and to make the game world huge, the story and the meaning of the game must deepen as well. In MOUL, The city, the Ages and the Cavern need to morph and grow, not just to fit a business model but to find the way to make this kind of digital and virtual world, one of high quality and content, thrive, not just survive. This is NOT a marketplace of digital emmulations of normal commercial exchange or real estate or influence or player points or violence or conflict...it is a new form of community of great courtesy, fun and value...and for that alone it deserves utmost support and belief.

You will see in the Cavern and the Ages labour of love and craft of high artistry. In completing this research summary and article, and moving about and studying it all with a new eye, the eye is informed by the upcoming interval in which the city will be closed for a while. With this clarity, one can see everywhere the hands of the masterful development, the crafters of this remarkable world, and value what Cyan and they achieved.








Rand Miller Co Founder of Cyan with Explorers

There is not another virtual world like this one that I have seen. There is as well potential for the story underlying this world, it is one that resonates with our own challenges in the modern world, global culture faced with dwindling resources and growing challenges......and in the D'ni world there is also much that is unique and for that too there is great value.



Remarkable D'ni Art and Architecture

In terms of the value of play and of the novelty and uniqueness of MOUL, we as people and individuals have a need for exploring, and for the new and challenging to keep our spirits and our hearts alive and vital, without this new and incoming content in our own minds and lives, we wither and become less than we can be and should be, for ourselves and for our loved ones and time and world.

As a new genre, that of Massive Multiplayer Online Adventure, URU and MOUL offer an alternative to much that surrounds us in game forms and current trends. I think it is not only a valid but a much needed alternative and offers perhaps the greatest chance for the medium of CGI graphic 3D games to flourish and grow. There continue to be improvements in the capacity of 3D game worlds to be crafted in great beauty and



The Awesome Scenery of Gahreesen Age


complexity, with full dynamic features and the chance to experience and to explore, to move onself about a virtual world in full physics and with capable and remarkable AI or intelligence on the part of NPC figures and other in game characters. To allow a story to floursh that does not rely on fear, violence and conquest I think is very very needed, for there are many other ways to enjoy life and to achieve self realization of greater value than defeating enemies and conquering resources and territory. MOUL offers such an alternative and for this reason alone is worthy of our support and our faith and encouragement as it finds a new home. I do not denegrate or deny the other forms of games and do not mean to say that no other kind of risk or encounter is not fun or interesting or useful or that these are NOT at all present or worthy of URU and MOUL. Life has risk and danger and no real virutual reality would deny this, and MOUL does not. But there is a focus on other things as being of equal value too, and that makes this world and these possible futures worth much.

So this is a time of change, and evolution and revolution in forms and we can embrace the Wave, dive into the maelstrom and ride the rapids to new and exciting things I think and urge and encourage. I plan to follow MOUL and future possiblities, I believe it is a game of unparalleled merit and value.

Dr Watson's Speech

On September 12, Dr Watson game a significant speech about the future with his throughts for explorers and the events to come:

3:20 PM MDT --
Dr. Watson in Blabbity's hood

Good afternoon.

I've been asked for my advice on many issues since my recent return. I really haven't had time to get caught up on everything that 's been happening here, but I sat down this morning and attempted to come up with some kind of statement on the issues that have been brought to my attention.

First, the Guilds. I've been told that there are folks who are very upset that the DRC are attempting to follow the D'ni lead in taking steps to re-form the Guilds. They say that the Guilds are "bad", that they inevitably lead to Pride. The Guilds are not inherently bad in and of themselves. Those who blame "the Guilds" for the Fall of D'ni have not understood Yeesha's words and have missed her point completely. The Guilds provided stability and structure for the D'ni culture, which allowed their civilization to thrive for tens of thousands of years. The problem with the Guilds in D'ni history is the same thing that's the problem here in the Cavern today: people. More specifically: our Pride. The very lesson that Yeesha has repeatedly attempted to teach us.

We already have our own problems of Pride. We haven't needed the Guilds for that. If things are going to be different this time around, it's up to all of us, including you Explorers, to choose to be more responsible than the D'ni were at the time of the Fall.

Just as the Bahro are finding out right now with their newly-found freedoms - it all comes down to the choices we make. Frankly, from what I've been hearing, there are many Explorers who are not ready for this responsibility. What's the alternative? Learn to work together. Stop complaining when things are not exactly as you'd like them to be. Stop bickering among yourselves. Stop choosing to divide yourselves. There is much more at stake here than our egos. You do have the ability to choose to work together. Make that choice.

As for the Cavern, I was asked yesterday if we should all leave the Cavern, so let me clarify my position. When the Restoration first began, what seems like decades ago, I gave another speech. In that speech, I explained that I felt "Called" here. I said that this Cavern was meant to be inhabited, and that it was our intent to make it habitable once again. (oops, repeating) I said that this Cavern was meant to be inhabited, and that it was our intent to make it habitable once again. I was convinced of it. I was sure that the warnings of Atrus did not apply to those of us from the Surface. I no longer believe that is the case. But do not misunderstand me, I am still drawn here, but now I'm drawn to learn the lessons that this Cavern has to teach me. But I will apply those lessons elsewhere. No longer is it my goal to restore this place with the hope of reinhabiting it. That is where the DRC and I differ in our opinions. Of course, I'm perfectly willing to admit that it may turn out that I am wrong; that they are right. Should we leave, then? No. I think that would be just as grave an error. As I said, this Cavern still has much to teach us.

But what of the Bahro? the conflict that is going on all around us here in the Cavern and in many of the Ages? I've been asked why the "bad" Bahro are attacking us. Is it because they think we're the D'ni? no, I don't think that's the case. In fact, after hearing of the destruction in Negilahn from Douglas Sharper, I think it's clear that the Bahro who have chosen to become bent on destruction are completely indiscriminate about what they destroy. What did the animals around the pods ever do to the Bahro? They clearly weren't killed for food. It seems to be destruction simply for the sake of destruction. Cruelty for the sake of cruelty. they seem to do it just because they can. And the Bahro who killed Wheely, from the description of events that Michael has given me, specifically kept her alive while she was trapped. My only conclusion from that behavior is that it was studying her or toying with her. Which immediately brings to mind the many Bahro who received a very similar treatment from a D’ni man who lived in Noloben named Esher. I'm told the Bahro even specifically attempted to say the word "Noloben" before it attacked her. But what can we do about the "bad" Bahro? Not much. For now, we are protected. The "good" Bahro protecting us have created a grand deception for our peace of mind - an illusion that all is well here in the Cavern and the Ages.

We now know that this is not the case, but how much longer will their protection last? A week? A month? a year? a decade? a century? I have no idea. Funny thing about prophecies... they don't always come with an expiration date. But we have been told that "Destruction is coming." I believe specifically that that destruction is coming to the Cavern, but I could be wrong about that, too. It is entirely possible that the "destruction" is a great deal larger than that. Either way, we need to use the time we are being given to "Find a way. Make a home." How can we do that? That's where the Guilds come in. We have got to work together. It will not happen overnight. It will likely take many years, in fact. But I believe the Guilds are the key.

Yeesha has already been to hundreds of Ages, looking for something, anything, that might help to end the Bahro conflict, or, at the very least, help to protect us from it in case there comes a time when the "good" Bahro are no longer able to. As time passes, it grows increasingly unlikely that anything is going to be found in an Age the D'ni have or had access to. And so, we are going to need new Ages at some point. There are those among the Explorers who may eventually be able to assist in that regard. That is the direction I believe we must take. The Guilds (and even the Explorers who are not interested in joining a Guild) will have to work together: writing, maintaining, mapping, and exploring those new Ages. It is a grand undertaking. And much of it depends on you Explorers, and how well you choose to work together. Will we be up to the challenge? That definitely remains to be seen. I hope we are.

Thank you for your kind attention. "

Dr Watson




An All Guilds Planning Meeting in Kirel, February 2008 Considering the Unknown Future


What Will Come?

It is not known yet what the next iteration or form of URU and MOUL will be. Rand Miller has spoken of efforts that Cyan is making to discuss the rights to MOUL with GAmeTap with a possiblity of Cyan hosting a server for MOUL themselves. Nothing is known at thie time. One way or another, the Ending had not yet been written.




Yeesha in Kveer, End of Season One

One of the players who was present with URU from the beginning of Prologue and up to the present of MOUL, Romer Openfield has said this about the time of change, most eloquently:

"UR URU

The forums are our living history. And like life itself, we have evolved.

The evolution that has taken place, and that we are currently verbalizing quite clearly, involves the gamers and not the game. This is certainly unique -- and an awesome opportunity.

Most of you who are reading this have changed over the past year -- some of you, quite without knowing it. .....

Then, slowly, we turned inward and innovative. Some read the D'ni histories aloud with their hoodmates, others showcased amazing photos, comedy and radio came to life, then more parties and marker quests appeared, pellets were dropped by the millions, new player-created content was glimpsed, and the good news was relayed that MOUL was alive!

It was, indeed, the beginning of a renaissance. And it came at the end of MOUL as we knew it. ........

Now we, the survivors, have come to a place of togetherness in positive and creative pursuit of the game's future. And we have also banded together in nostalgic remembrance of the past tumultuous year and what it meant, both together and alone. As it has been said, "You don't know what you have 'til it's gone."

But, in our case, is that entirely true? Is it gone? No. The game is no longer for us -- it IS us. It will never be gone, but it must evolve, as we have. We have evolved into a true community beyond the content of the game. I don't think you can look back to any event, any form of new content or Age, any story element that is responsible for the evolution of this community and where we are now.

It is not nightfall, it is a dawn. We have awakened to ourselves, with a new perspective on the collective "us" and how we live and breathe and exist within and without this game.

When disaster strikes a community, the people gather amidst the ashes and begin to plan and build again, better than ever. And until that rebuilding happens, they still enjoy the most important part of a community--each other.

A wondrous place to live and play and pray and learn is where we will be, not who we are.

We have evolved to realize these things. This forum brims with our growth. Now, we idealize about the game from hearts and minds that have grown to finally comprehend what it all means. We know what needs to happen to adapt the game to the community.

So, we've changed. What I am hearing from you all is that you don't see our group as subscribers, or residents, or gamers, or explorers anymore. We are providers, builders, owners. We are the futureUR URU

The forums at http://www.mystonline.com are the living history of the MO:UL explorers and devotees.

The evolution that has taken place over the past year has been amazing and human. It was an evolution of the gamers, not the game. This is certainly unique in gamedom.

I was member of this community from the first day. We expected to be flooded with new game content from the developers. But quickly it was clear that was not going to happen. We moaned about content coming too slowly or not in enough quality. We supported Cyan emotionally, yet we wondered what was amiss with the game we were paying for. Many were let down by the game, left with nothing to do, bored. Our expectations were in orbit. Disappointment during that time pepper the forum. Some quit. The majority didn't.

I think those were the growing pains of our evolution. Then, things changed. We still weren't getting content or new gameplay, but a shift in attitude occurred. Slowly, we turned inward and innovative. We soon found value in doing things for ourselves. The Guilds were born, explorers settled in and read the D'ni histories aloud with their hoodmates, others showcased amazing photos, comedy and radio came to life, then more parties and marker quests appeared, pellets were dropped by the millions, new player-created content was glimpsed, and the good news was relayed that MOUL was alive!

It was, indeed, the beginning of a renaissance. Ironically, it came at the end of MOUL as we knew it.

Now, all of us survivors have come to a place of togetherness in positive and creative pursuit of the game's future. We have banded together in nostalgic remembrance of the past tumultuous year and what it meant, together and alone. And we are working, thinking, planning, and building for a new URU tomorrow.

For the game is no longer for us -- it IS us. We have evolved into a true community beyond the content of the game, and we have taken charge.

It is not nightfall, it is a dawn. We have awakened to ourselves, with a new perspective on the collective "us," and in a dark time it now draws us closer and makes us stronger.

Now, as the place we call home will soon close its doors, we finally know what needs to happen to adapt the game to the community. I am proud and grateful to have found these people and count myself as one of them.

What I am hearing from all the explorers is that they don't see themselves any longer as subscribers, or residents, or gamers, or explorers. They are providers, builders, owners. They are the future. Construction is coming. "

These are a few comments posted on the community forum about the experience of playing MOUL, and there are for each of these hundreds more, it was above all, an experince of people playing with people, as people, and the rich tapestry of in game experience is as remarkable and wonderful to witness as it is difficult to convey in mere words, when it is about a fully relized and relizable 3 D world.



Many thanks to all who have helped me with the overview, and special thanks to Renfield for screenshots of Cate and Flying Bahro, to Wolf for the pic of the Bahro in the Relto, to Greypiffle and MustardJeep for help with the Chronology and timeline, Romer Openfield for his comments and help, to SuperGram who welcomed me to the game early on, for Pappa Smurf for permission to share his comments, and to many many others for help, encouragement and so much more. And above all to the staff and leaders at Cyan who have created this remarkable, unique and dynamic game. And a special word of thanks to the ResEngs who made playing the game so much more fun by their constant presence, kindness, and spirit:

ResEngs: (Game Masters)

Victoria Almond (Tori)
Terry Appling
Taylor Bailey
Aaron (Monarch)Biegalski
Jesse Bronson
Erik Brown
Gary Buddell
Wolf Cowart
Mike Curn
Michael Dogherra
Ben Drechsel
Chris Lambert
B Mathias

Special thanks for the group pictures on explorers in the main plaza of Ae'gura and on the Great Stair taken in the city on February 9, 2008 by CausticSarcasim and Dot.




Explorers Saying Farewell in Phil's Relto to the Second Phase of MOUL


-----------
Comments on the Future of MOUL from MystOnline Community Forum with permission of CrisGer, Pappa Smurf and ....

CrisGer
Joined: 18 May 2006
Posts: 1782
Location: Colorado, California
Posted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 4:21 pm — Post subject: Genesis, Evolution and Revolution in MOUL

Though it will not remove the risks and the angst of caring about the past, present and future of MOUL and URU, i believe what we are seeing are natural growth pains of not only a remarkable universe, that of the D'ni, which intermingles with our own, but we are also seeing the birth of a new game genre, MMOA, Massive Multiplayer Online Adventure. As both, a story and a new game form, there are inevitable birth challenges, as the vision of creative genius does not come along with a complete manual, it takes time, huge effort, dedication and ongoing courage to persevere.



Chill Party in Nightime Mintaka - A MMOA in Action

I think there are a number of remarkable factors which have made the success happen so far, Cyan and the genius of the visionaries there, the community that the story has attracted and the very high standards of compassion, courtesy and mutual respect and fun, and the ongoing support of a number of publishers, and the game world as a whole, and ongoing generations of technology, video, game code, engine and hardware that have made the vision of URU possible.

We are all of us part of this evolution and revolution and I really do think this has a chance of continuing but only if we both detach from the immediate fears and embrace the commitment to the needs of the future.

The game world is constantly evolvoing, like the jungle in Negalin, and there are major risks and changes constantly, but the overall fact is that living entities must grow and change, to survive and prosper. They must push the limit of resources and possiblity and then with a vision of the future form, push through and beyond what has been possible.

Each new form of URU has seen improvement and much improved chances for us, the players, to enjoy, to interact, and to be part of a growing dynamic story that is remarkable depth and subtlety, and potential.

The unique features of URU and MOUL are that there is a width and depth of the world that invites and allows all of us to come in and be part of something that is only partially revealed to any one of us, and which is unfolding in a way that continues to invite our interest and participation. There is great creative potential here, and the forms are evolving.

This is why I do not fear the changes upon us now, for they are necessary and a part of growth and development.

I believe it is important to achieve this persepective and to see how it fits with the needs of the overall picture in order to detach and allow the changes to happen. GameTap did what they could as did Ubi Soft, and as does Cyan continue to work in its own way, and so do we all. For this story and this virtual world is ours as much as anyones, this is what makes MOUL special and remarkable and alive, it is all of us. We can any of us visit the city and some of the Ages in the stand alone game, but what gives it the remarkable life is the life of all of us, each and any of us and all the future explorers who will and may come in the days and years ahead. And the way the game allows us all to interact, to contribute and to particpate, each of us in our own way and style, this is what makes URU and MOUL worth the belief and the



Explorers Drilling for the 4th Annual St Patrick's Day Parade with SuperGram



Picture by Ivanova of the Finale of St Pat's Parade 2008 with Greydragon and ReseEngs



Explorers in Green Lining up for St Pat's Parade 2008

effort and the fun today and hopefully to come. This is why it is not just trying to hold on to the past, or preserve something but a creative act of faith to let go now and help and support Cyan in what may come, in whatever form, and to support the guilds and the Maintainers and the others who will keep the forums and the sites and the efforts open in the Exodus, and the Hiegera, and the Interval and the Intermission and the time in between what is now and what will come.

It is tempting to just move on and see this all as an ending, but that does not seem really the accurate or best approach to me, in my humble opinion. I am convinced that there remains much to be realized and that the forms and the way it will work are in flux now and this is a necesary growing pain. The city and the Cavern need to morph and grow, not just to fit a business model but to find the way to make this kind of digital and virtual world, one of high quality and content, thrive, not just survive. This is NOT a marketplace of digital emmulations of normal commercial exchange or real estate or influence or player points or violence or conflict...it is a new form of community of great courtesy, fun and value...and for that alone it deserves our utmost support and belief.

We see around us in the Cavern and the Ages labour of love and craft of high artistry. I have beem moving about and studying it all with a new eye, the eye informed by the upcoming interval in which the city will be closed for a while. With this clarity, i see everywhere the hands of the Makers, the crafters of this remarkable world, and value what they achieved and we have all made possible very very highly. There is not another virtual world like this one, and with this potential for the story underlying this world is one that resonates with our own challenges yet is apart and unique and for that too there is great value. We as people and individuals have a need for exploring, and for the new and challenging to keep our spirits and our hearts alive and vital, without this new and incoming content in our own minds and lives, we wither and become less than we can be and should be, for ourselves and for our loved ones and time and world.

As a new genre, that of Massive Multiplayer Online Adventure, URU and MOUL offer an alternative to much that surrounds us in game forms and current trends. I think it is not only a valid but a much needed alternative and offers perhaps the greatest chance for the medium of CGI graphic 3D games to flourish and grow. There continue to be improvements in the capacity of 3D game worlds to be crafted in great beauty and complexity, with full dynamic features and the chance to experience and to explore, to move onself about a virtual world in full physics and with capable and remarkable AI or intelligence on the part of NPC figures and other in game characters. To allow a story to floursh that does not rely on fear, violence and conquest I think is very very needed, for there are many other ways to enjoy life and to achieve self realization of greater value than defeating enemies and conquering resources and territory. MOUL offers such an alternative and for this reason alone is worthy of our support and our faith and encouragement as it finds a new home. I do not denegrate or deny the other forms of games and do not mean to say that no other kind of risk or encounter is not fun or interesting or useful or that these are NOT at all present or worthy of URU and MOUL. Life has risk and danger and no real virutual reality would deny this, and MOUL does not. But there is a focus on other things as being of equal value too, and that makes this world and these possible futures worth much.

So this is a time of change, and evoltion and revolution in forms and we can embrace the Wave, dive into the maelstrom and ride the rapids to new and exciting things I think and urge and encourage. I hope and plan to stay along for the ride and to try to keep sharing what it is that makes this such a special effort and worthy of our dedication and belief and support in any way that is workable for us.

I think it is also worth to mention that Cyan and the way that they work with the game and its content, and communicate with us the community and work to craft this ongoing experiece is remarkable in itself. They do it with a deft touch and a subtle way that allows the game to have a life of its own, they do not rule the game with an iron hand or just toss it out to us and walk away. They also remain true and commited to their own principles and vision, so there is a compass and a guidance to the overall progress that is at times invisible and within the walls and underneath the world but very real and I think very creative. It allows for change and growth, and for possiblity. At times the silence may appear to be deafening, but in that silence there is the vitality of space and allowance, and creativity. They have been and continue to be candid and share as they can, and work with integrity and honour and I am very respectful of their way even when at times it is a challenge for not knowing what the future may be. That is part of the price of shared creation in my experinece and is part of all our lives, and not unique to this effort. Things of value in life do indeed have a high price, yet they are worth it.

Looking forward to seeing you all on the other side.....

Shorah.

_________________
Ecologic Archeologist
Knowledge is not wisdom, but a good start
--------------------------------------------------------



MOUL First Birthday Party February 2008

CREDITS:

Vision

Director Rand Miller
Executive Producer Blake Lewin

Programming

CTO Mark H. DeForest
Lead Graphics Programmer Bob Zasio
Lead Server Programmer Eric S. Anderson
Engine Programmer Jeff Lundin, Jason M. Calvert, Adam Van Ornum
Senior Tech. Artist, Gameplay Chris Doyle
Tech. Artist, Gameplay Derek Odell, Tye Hooley
Tech. Artist, Sound Implementation Tye Hooley

Art

Art & Visual Design Director Joshua A. Staub
Animation Lead Jason C. Baskett
Artist Austin Thomas, Victoria Brace
Art Lead Eric A. Anderson

Sound and Music

Sound Design Tim Larkin

Concept and Control

D'ni Historian, Design Richard A. Watson

Game Design Lead Ryan Miller

Community Manager Ryan J. Warzecha

Quality Control/Customer Support

Dir. of QC and Cust. Support Lloyd Bell
Sr. QC Lead/CS Lead Greg J. Miranda
QC Lead/Sr. CS Lead Victoria L. Almond
QC & CS Lead/Sr. Web Dev. Karl Johnson
CS Lead Aaron Biegalski, M. Wolf Cowart, Michael Dogherra, Brandon A. Knowles, Kerryn Miller

Customer Support Taylor Bailey, Jesse Bronson, Ben Drechsel, Chris Lambert, Bob Mathias, Emily Norton

QC Tester Bradford Chapman, John Taitingfong, Eliza Wyatt

Administrative Support

President Tony Fryman
Project Manager Mark Dobratz
CFO Mark Klammer
IT Manager David Smith
Maintenance & Eggs Byron R. Heinemann
Office, Accounting Eloise McCloskey

Voice Artists

Zandi David Ogden Stiers
Yeesha Rengin Altay

Musicians

Guitar Eric Engerbretson
Vocalists Friends of Sironka Dance Troupe, Tasha Koontz

Special Acknowledgement

To early Uru Developers Ryan Allred, James Beattie, John M. Biggs, Susan R. Bonds, Colin Bonstead, Chris Brandkamp, Mathew C. Burrack, Gary W. Butcher, Christopher L. Clanin, Terry J. Coolidge, Mark T. Finch, Robert J. Emanuele, Peter Gage, Paul Gallagher, Robert Grace, Mike Hines, Stephen Hoogendyk, Tricia Bland, Brian Kulig, Stephan Martiniere, Matthew B. MacLaurin, Douglas T. McBride, Steve Ogden, Christian Piccolo, Chris J. Purvis, Paul A. Querna, Nathan Reidt, Terry Schmidbauer, Bill Slease, Rod L. Stafford, Mark Stenersen, Adrian Stone, William Stoneham, Brice Tebbs, Mustafa Thamer, Patti VanHeel, Eric G. Votava, Jeff Wilson, Eric R. Warman, Kyle Wilson

Additional Cyan Development

Taylor Bailey, Ocala Bellows, Aaron Biegalski, Bryce J. Biggerstaff, John Brooks, Bryan Bussard, T. Elliot Cannon, Bret Carlson, Tim S. DeWolf, Eric Ellis, Scott Ellwanger, Mark Engberg/Colab, Brad Halpin, Keely Honeywell, Daniel Johnston, Gil Keppler, Brandon A. Knowles, Jeff Oswalt, Ryan B. Persch, Melinda Russell, Thom Schillinger, Micah Sheets, Lee Sheldon, Tyler J. Smith, Craig Voigt, Zachary M. Wellsandt, Maureen Wick

GameTap

GM & SVP GameTap Stuart Snyder
VP of Content Ricardo Sánchez
VP of Marketing David Reid
VP of Technology Eric Diez
Executive Producer Blake Lewin
Dir. of Product Management Cameron Payne
Senior Brand Manager Trent Hershenson
Technology Leslie Brooks, Miomir Arandelovic, Jorge Monteiro, Roberto Monge
Production Manager Roger Faso
Assistant Producer Jake Armstrong, Chanh Tran
QA Manager Andrew Feury
Technical Lead Ryan Burke
Lead Tester Will Armstrong
Tester T.J. Dorsey, Patrick Durbin, Christina Lacey, Jason Markowitz, Nigel O'Rear, Daniel Palacios, Jason Toups, Justin Turner

Special Thanks Eric Large, Ron Meiners, Celia Pearce

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Pearce, C. (2007). “Narrative Environments from Disneyland to World of Warcraft.” In Space, Time, Play: Computer Games, Architecture and Urbanism: The Next Level. Friedrich von Borries, Steffan P. Walz, and Matteas Bottger (eds). Basel: Birkhauser.

Fron, J., Fullerton, T., Morie, J. & Pearce, C. (aka Ludica) (2007). “The Hegemony of Play.” In Situated Play: Proceedings of Digital Games Research Association 2007 Conference. Tokyo, Japan.

Pearce, C., Ashmore, C. (2007). “Principles of Emergent Design in Online Games: Mermaids Phase 1 Prototype.” SIGGRAPH Sandbox, July 2007.

Fron, J., Fullerton, T., Morie, J. & Pearce, C. (aka Ludica) (2007). “Sustainable Play: Towards A New Games Movement for the Digital Age.” (Reprint) Games & Culture, Volume 2, Number 3, July 2007.

Pearce, C. (2006). “Communities of Play: The Social Construction of Identity in Persistent Online Game Worlds.” Second Person: Role-Playing and Story in Games and Playable Media. Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Pat Harrigan (eds) Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press.

Pearce, C. (2006). “Games as Art: The Aesthetics of Play.” in Fluxus and Legacy, special issue of Visible Language. Ken Friedman and Owen Smith, issue eds; Sharon Poggenpohl, series editor and publisher.

Pearce, C. (2006). “Productive Play: Game Culture from the Bottom Up.” Games & Culture. Volume 1 Issue 1, Winter 2006.

Fron, J., Fullerton, T., Morie, J. & Pearce, C. (aka Ludica) (2005). “Sustainable Play: Towards A New Games Movement for the Digital Age.” Digital Arts & Culture Conference Proceedings, Copenhagen, December 2005.

Pearce, C. (2005). “Theory Wars: An Argument Against Arguments in the so-called Ludology/Narratology Debate.” In Changing Views: Worlds in Play (Digital Games Research Association Conference 2005 Proceedings).

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http://www.mobygames.com/game/myst-online-uru-live
Myst Online: URU Live

Online Links and Sources:

Cyan Worlds
http://www.cyan.com/news/

MystOnline: UrU Live
http://www.mystonline.com/

DRC Home Site
http://www.drcsite.org/home.php

The Guild of Greeters
http://www.guildofgreeters.com/

GameTap
http://www.gametap.com/home/

Mystcommunty.com
http://www.mystcommunity.com/board/

URU Obsession
http://www.uruobsession.com/

The Cavern Today
http://www.thecaverntoday.org/

D'ni Resources
http://forums.guildofgreeters.com/index.php?act=ST&f=17&t=88&st=0#entry375

APPENDICES:

CHRONOLGOY OF MOUL - SEASON ONE

The game story is based on the D'ni backstory and that can be found on many of the community sites, as well as initially on the DRC site and the Guild of Greeters as two of the best authorities.
DRC Home Site
http://drcsite.org/dnifaq.php

Guild of Greeters
http://www.guildofgreeters.com/

The best online resource for the ongoing development of the game is the MystOnline Community site:http://www.mystonline.com/ and the forums there

The game story is summaried in the following information drawn from online sources, and community members and was gathered here in consultation wtih community members including MustardJeep, Greypiffle, and others,



Time line of Events in MOUL: 2007
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The exploration of the city reopens, DRC reappears, led by same crew except for DR Watson.

Cate Alexander appears as new leader and funding person

Various twists and turns re release of new areas, access

The DRC interact routinely with explorers, releasing new Ages and Areas



Dr Marie Sutherland (DRC) meets with Explorers in the city

Eder Ages Released with door puzzle

Pods Appear....and are decyphered using the map and clues



Dereno Pod Offers Intriguing Observations of Aquatic Life

Sharper reappears and starts hunting things, take a trip with Rik outside a pod

Rils involved in story of exploration and they find something killed in a messy way

Wheely story.....and its drama unfolds drawing in huge crowds and showing limits of the current game frame capacity



Memorial to Wheely and her Friend Rose

Michael Engberg disappears

Watchers Pub Release

Er'canna Release and Pellet mechanism initiated

Lake Light Restoration initiated with Pellet drops and presence and then absence of Lake Light Meter

Mintaka Release



Mysterious Mintaka has a dynamic day cycle

Some kind of new wrinkle with the Bahro is evident with possible good Bahro and bad bahro

Bahro appear in the city and approach players very closely, remarkable interactions occur and Bahro are seen on rooftops and in private Reltos and in neighborhoods




Bahro in a Relto

Dr Watson reappears and dialogs with us and meets with Douglas Sharper



Dr Watson in the Watchers' Pub

Access to Ahonnay is a major event, administered by DRC and long lines show player respect for the interface medium

Phil Henderson reappears and discloses much about the Bahro civil war and that he has been with Yeesha



Phil Henderson Visits with Explorers in his Relto

Myst Linking Book Appears in Kveer and Bahro are sighted in Kveer



Explorers lining up to access Link book to Myst

Bahro attacks on city begin and continue for a brief period



Flying Bahro Attacking in the city

Yeehsa appears and has brief encounter and warns us to prepare and draws the Bahro away from the city, both good and bad



Yeesha in Kveer



Yeesha talks to the massed Explorers

Kirel Released

Gulid Pubs Release

Guild System is suggested and a community Guild coordinator is chosen

Guilds start to form and grow

Jalak Released



Jalak Marker Hunt

Cate Alexander Resigns leaves



Cate Informs Explorers in the city of her resignation

Dr Watsom gives a significant speech about the future



Dr Watson giving his speech

DRC leave one by one

The Final message from Laxman and Dr Marie Sutherland, they are leaving for the surface

First Season ends.



Bahro Appear in Ti'chelle's Lower Ahonnay Bahro Cave Easter Sunday March 2008
First Activity of the Bahro in the Cavern, Bahro reappear briefly in Ireenquench's Mintaka Age during the Advanced Glyph Tour




Meaning of these Bahro visits are unknown but some explorers believe it indicates support by the Bahro for continuing Explorer presence in the Cavern.



THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE MYST SERIES

As Presented by GameTap:

The Grand Evolution of Myst

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

September 24, 1993
Designed and directed by brothers Robyn and Rand Miller and developed by Cyan, Inc., Myst is distributed by Broderbund for the Mac. The game sets a new mark as the best-selling video game ever at the time and ushered in the first-person adventure puzzle game genre.

1995
Hyperion Books releases The Book of Atrus, the first book in the Myst series of novels, set in the same universe as the Myst computer games by Cyan. The Book of Ti'ana and The Book of D'ni, the second and third books in the series, are released in 1996 and 1997, respectively.

Making it into the mainstream: In The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror VI, there is a segment in which a 3-D version of Homer Simpson encounters the library from Myst Island.

1997
Broderbund's RedOrb Entertainment division releases Riven, the sequel to Myst. Riven, which is even larger and more beautiful than Myst, is considered the most mind-challenging chapter in the series.

1998
Virgin label releases Myst and Riven soundtracks, by artist Robyn Miller, in the UK.

Selling more than 11 million copies, Myst and its sequels held the title of best-selling computer game of all time throughout much of the 1990s.

2000
Updating the original Myst with the latest technology, realMyst was released featuring realtime 3D graphics. This is the version of Myst that Cyan and the world-famous Miller brothers always wanted to make, but the technology wasn't available at the time. Myst fans could now experience a fully immersive, dynamic world that they could wander through and interact with.

2001
Ubisoft Entertainment Software publishes the third Myst sequel, Myst III: Exile. This game focuses on a new villain whose home world was ruined, so he's out for revenge.

2003
Ubisoft releases Uru: Ages Beyond Myst, the offline version of the planned online game Uru Live, but cancels the online version shortly before it is launched. Since the online version is halted, the offline Uru: Complete Chronicles is released. This special edition includes the original offline game and its two expansion packs, To D'ni and The Path of the Shell, which contain content that had been intended for the online game.

To accompany the game, a soundtrack combining an eclectic collection of various rhrythms, voices, and moods is also released.

2004
Ubisoft releases the fourth installment, Myst IV: Revelation. Myst fans travel through environments pulsing with life to unearth a treacherous scheme involving two of Myst's most sinister villains.

2005
Ubisoft rolls out Myst V: End of Ages, the fifth Myst installment. Players embark on an epic journey into the heart of a shattered empire as the only explorer who can still save it – or destroy it with the wrong choices. Cyan Music Director/Composer Tim Larkin composes the game's original soundtrack with the tell-tale haunting and beautiful sounds that adeptly evoke the Myst series.

2006
GameTap announces it will be publishing Myst Online: Uru Live and opens the door to subscribers to check out the beta version of the game. In conjunction with the beta preview, GameTap launches www.GameTap.com/mystonline, a website that houses videos, podcasts, artwork, forums, wallpaper, game details and a host of other game-related offerings.

February 15th, 2007
GameTap introduces Myst Online: Uru Live, the newest chapter in the Myst story. This title gracefully fuses the social concepts of a traditional massively multiplayer online game with the mystery and problem-solving facets of an adventure game.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Detailed Information on Areas, and Game Progress:

According to the DRC Website, these are the ages released in this order.
Ae'gura Museum
Minkata
Eder Delin
Eder Tsogal
Negilahn
Dereno
Payiferen
Tetsonot
Er'cana
Watcher's Sanctuary
Uran(Myst Library?)

But according to the forums:
In order of release -
Tsogahl
Delin
Negilahn
Dereno
(hood link to treebolisk)
Payiferen
Tetsonot
descent
(user created marker missions)
Minkata
Watcher's Pub
Er'cana
Kierel
Jalak
Guid Pubs
Spyroom - Phil's Relto
Ahnonay
K'veer
Myst

And here is the whole released list

Texana wrote:

Latest Additions
The goodies have been turned on! Take a tour and find your missing stuff

April 4th shutdown
UbiUru shutdown announced February 4th 2004
GT-MO:UL shutdown announced February 4th 2008


Feather Collection
Note: You must do these in order.
Procedure: Type “/get feather” to pick them up and type “/look in pocket” to confirm your collection
Age....................Number........Color
Eder Gira .................7..............Plain
Eder Delin ...............1...............Red
Dereno.....................1...............Blue
Payiferin...................1...............Black
Er’cana.....................1...............Silver
Jalak........................1...............Duck
Ahnonay...................1...............Rukh

For fun: type “/get object” and see the result

Sparklies
Passing through these will generate an altar with a flame on the large Relto Island you get from the fire pit in Cleft. A new one is available each month as the previous one disappears. When you collect them all you get a fireworks display They began to appear January 2007.
Month.............Age..................Location
January.........Gahreesen........The Maintainer's Building; in an alcove in the outer ring.
February........Kadish..............On top of the third pillar
March............Eder Gira..........In the lower pool
April..............Gahreesen.........In the Prisoner's cell
May..............Descent.............On a wall in the main room
June..............Minkata.............In cave #2
July...............Er'cana..............Behind the broken train track support
August..........Jalak.................On top of pillar
September.....Teledahn...........Next to hidden niche
October.........Phil's Relto.........On the dock
November......Great Zero.........On inner staircase balcony
December......Myst Library.......In the center



Other Cool Items
Music player
In the gallery that adds a new song to your Relto music player's playlist
Soccer ball
In Minkata - Out in the desert somewhere near hole #4, the southernmost hole. Traveler says it can be found 30 seconds running due south from cave #4. Just run into the southern sun, shadow vertical behind you.

Great Zero Calibration Marker Locations
Guild of Greeters GZMO locations
http://www.guildofgreeters.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=91&Itemid=38

UO Mission Marker locations
http://www.uruobsession.com/?page=D%60ni%20-%20Rezeero%20CGZM%20Mission%20Guides

Here is a beautiful set of maps showing marker locations.
http://home.comcast.net/~mark_af/urumaps.html

Basic Red and Green Marker Locations
We have found 33 so far.

Great Zero Locations (2):
1 - GZO
1 - GZ - under the stairs

City Proper (19):
1 - Ferry Terminal tunnel
1 - Museum
1 - Gallery
1 - By the Museum
1 - By the Great Curtain
1 - On Stairs past the Hall of Kings
1 - On walkway between the "bridge" and the Hall of Kings
1 - On walkway between the "bridge" and the Library
1 - Inside the Library
1 - By barriers behind the Library
1 - On the stairs between the Concert Hall and Takotah Alley
1 - On the ledge over Takotah Alley Nexus Terminal
1 - In Kahlo Pub rubble
1 - In Kahlo Pub over a table
1 - On the landing of the Great Stair near Kahlo Pub
1 - At the bottom of the Great Stair
1 - At end of Docks
1 - In a crevasse across from Kadish Gallery
1 - On the Rope Bridge

City Links Book (5):
1 - Baron's City Office
1 - Palace Canyon Balcony (Curved)
1 - Palace Rooftop (Rectangular)
2 - Takotah Rooftop

Bevin (7):
1 - Outside the lecture hall
1 - Light Garden
1 - By waterfall
1 - Classroom
1 – Egg room
1 - Classroom Rooftop (via page in Bevin Book)
1 - Bevin Balcony (via page in Bevin Book)


Links to Ages
Books in Relto Bookcase
Age - How Obtained
Ahnonay - Ahnonay Cathedral - On a pedestal
Ahnonay Cathedral- On a pedestal in the Watcher's Pub
Bevin – You begin with this on your bookshelf in Relto
Cleft – Single Pillar in Relto
Dereno - On a pedestal in the Museum of Ae'gura
Eder Gira – In one of the four Relto pillars you get after completing Cleft
Eder Kemo – On a pedestal in Eder Gira – near the waterfall
Er’cana– On a pedestal in the Watcher’s Pub
Gahreesen - In one of the four Relto pillars you get after completing Cleft
Jalak - On a pedestal in the Library of Ae'gura
Kadish - In one of the four Relto pillars you get after completing Cleft
Minkata – On a pedestal in the Library of Ae’gura
Myst - On a pedestal in the library of K'veer
Negilhan– On a pedestal in the Museum of Ae’gura
Nexus – You get this on your bookshelf in Relto after you use a Nexus book
Payiferin– On a pedestal in the Museum of Ae’gura
Relto – You begin with this on your belt
Teledahn – In one of the four Relto pillars you get after completing Cleft
Tetsonot– On a pedestal in the Museum of Ae’gura

Books in Bevin's Bookroom
Eder Delin or
Eder Tsogal
Great Zero Observation
Gahreesen Lite: Just enough of a preview to get your KI
Nexus

Other Info
A fun bug:
Walk up the ropes on your Relto bridge and levitate over the middle island. This is not as dramatic as it used to be, but it still works.

Holiday Goodies:
During the winter holidays there is a Christmas tree in the Baron's City Office and a nice menorah on a table on the Takotah rooftop. They are back again for 2007

During the fall there are pumpkins and harvest materials scattered about in public areas. Usually Eddie morphs into a pumpkin

Hidden Niche in Teledahn:
You can open the hidden shelf in the slave-shroom. You need to be sure the wooden walkway and the metal walkway are down. When the single outer door is up, the hidden shelf is closed, when its down, the hidden shelf is open. The trick is to walk around and open the inner double door and close the outer single door after you walk through all three chambers and fix the walkways. Then you enter the third chamber from the outside walkway and will see the shelf open, with a Bahro Stone to Sharper’s Spy Room. Rumor has it there is another way to get there if you can't get the metal bridge to fall down but I haven't tried this.

Fireflies in Relto
You can get "fireflies" in your Relto by first going to Eder Kemo, getting them to surround you, then linking to Relto. However, you MUST turn RAIN OFF in your Relto before bringing them home.

How to make your Relto tree from Kadish grow. (posted by Tiran)
http://www.urulive.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=5595

DRC and other In-game Character KI numbers
http://www.mystonline.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=9974&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

History Links:
DRC Official IC Forum
http://forums.drcsite.org/viewtopic.php?t=1163

Timeline of Events and Discoveries (John Lynch’s web link)
http://watson.theurulives.com/

Another List (from belford’s siggy)
http://eblong.com/zarf/uru/newfaq.html

UO's Cavern Today with lots of logs
http://www.uruobsession.com/forum/index.php?s=2d149bad873bd35a27742c4c7c96884f&act=SF&f=56

..................................Map Links:
Lots of nice maps
http://www.mystonline.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=11603
Eder Delin
http://www.dpwr.net/forums/index.php?act=module&module=gallery&cmd=si&img=2541
Minkata
http://www.mystonline.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=10176
D'ni Map
http://uru.patchallel.com/images/Atrus-Map.jpg
City Instances:
Main instance
Through the nexus - D'ni Ae'gura
Hood Instance
Through your City Links book – This allows you to work on your game without worrying about Ae'gura being too crowded . This is shown in th KI as "city city"

Puzzle Solutions
Eder Delin and Eder Tsogal
These are group puzzles that require a cooperative effort. The solution methodology is the same for both. You get a donut half for each age you solve.
...................Eder Delin
http://www.guildofgreeters.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=79&Itemid=39
...................Eder Tsogal
http://www.guildofgreeters.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=86&Itemid=39
...................List of hoods with Eder Delin linking books
http://www.mystonline.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=9645

Pod Ages:Negilahn, Dereno, Payiferin, and Tetsonot
Each pod age gives you a 1/4 slice of a donut! You just have to wait for the portal to appear, walk through it and claim your prize There are many portal predictors available on the forum. But in general, they follow the time zones that appear on the interactive map in the Museum.
...................Portal Appearance Locations
Negilahn is by the link-in point; the middle floor next to the down-ladder.
Dereno is on the bottom floor next to the left-most window.
Payiferen is on the bottom floor on top of the pod ID number.
Tetsonot is on the middle floor, near the two up-ladders.
...................Portal Prediction Programs
http://www.mystonline.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=9182
http://www.mystonline.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=9437


Minkata
This age can be solved alone and you get a single donut.
...................Hints and such
http://www.mystonline.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=10326

...................Detailed walk though
http://www.guildofgreeters.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=100&Itemid=39

Er'cana
This age can be solved alone. You just need to find and touch the Journey
cloths. You get 1/2 of a donut for this.
http://www.mystonline.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=11071
...................GoG Walkthrough
http://www.guildofgreeters.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=127&Itemid=39

Ahnonay
This age requires help. I found this nice explanation with good visuals on this forum.

Click to reveal spoiler.
Code to last door in Ahnonay: 32148567

http://www.mystonline.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=13413

Another nice guide:
http://cubkyle.blogspot.com/

Helpful Links
Guild of Greeter's Library
http://www.guildofgreeters.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=category§ionid=4&id=17&Itemid=28

Uru Obsession's Library
http://www.uruobsession.com/?module=Library

About the Guild System
http://drcsite.org/dnifaq.php#guild

Link to old Goodie List
http://www.mystonline.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=3748





The Ending Has Not Yet Been Written......



MOUL Overview Article Complied by the author of this blog who has been a member of the URU community since the time of the D'mala Shard and Until URU with the help of many fellow Explorers, forum members and members of the URU and Myst Communities who together make up the essence and the vitality of this remarkable worldspace.



Dr CrisGer (the compiler) and his cat Max


MASTERWORK REVIEW -TOMB RAIDER SERIES - Exotic Worlds of Adventure EIDOS
Eidos
Creating Stunning Visual Worlds in Many Dimensions

All Tomb Raider images, text, sound and music (c) Eidos Interactive All rights reserved No part may be copied or reproduced without express, written permission of Eidos.

All the images in this specific article are from the Eidos Interactive, All Rights Reserved


Since 1996, Eidos Interactive has been creating a remarkable series of adventure action games based on a now legendary British aristo explorer who delves into the secrets of the ages in ever increasingly beautifully rendered 3D worlds. From the earliest blocky sets to the current incredibly detailed and well done worlds of Tomb Raider, I am studying them as prime examples of what the 3D world can do for story telling par excellence.

Lara Croft is called a Tomb Raider, an archaeologist who seeks and delves into ancient sites with an emphasis and often a plot directed search of valuable treasures. In the series, Lara Croft is hired or engaged by some circumstance to follow a path to various places, often aided by her assistants located at her manor in England via phone or radio. She has a former mentor, Dr Von Croy who is at times an evil opponent and other figures appear in the series over time as antagonists and rivals of various kinds, and in one game a thankfully brief and failed attempt was made to find her a male counterpert.

The Tomb Raider series is a 3D action/adventure epic in which players control Lara from a third person perspective. The in game camera follows Lara as she scales, leaps, runs, explores and swims through detailed locations of many kinds, but mostly ruins and tombs and exotic locations, Paris, London, Japan, Peru, Egypt, and beyond.... overcoming traps, dangers, obstacles and foes both human and creature. Her progress through the levels often means finding ways that Lara can climb, angles where she can use her skills and ability, and sliding blocks and pushing levers to make her way to the end of the level. She has many abilities that you trigger with hot keys and combos that you learn in the tutorial section of each game and over time these controls have evolved into some of the most effective in such game design.

Lara comes armed with a variety of weapons including her famous twin pistols. She can restore her in game "health" in various ways as well. Lara’s foes may include real and mythical creatures, mercenaries, and on occasion humans who are seminal in the plot and evolving story. There are rewards and artifacts that open rewards in the game itself such as back story elements, pictures, outfits for Lara and other goodies.

I have found even in the transitional titles from earlier technology graphically starting with Tomb Raider IV, the lighting and the set design of the Tomb Raider levels is superb, on a level with art in many ways.



Young Lara On Her First Expedition, TR IV

The integration of background and structures, use of texture and construction to create the immersion is very well done throughout the series....



Lara in the Valley of the Kings, TR IV

and gives the player the "in the world" feeling that makes the Tomb Raiders so



Lara in a Tomb, Ghana, TR Legends

believealbe and playable on many levels. I find them aesthecially very beautiful and pleasing to move about in, and from her sumptious home as we explore and get to know it through the series as a form of home base, to the exotic locations, we are led deeper and deeper into the game experience by the lovinly created detailed and luscious visual worlds.



Lara in Croft Manor TR L



Finding Queen Talupa TR L

The settings are more than a arcade for acrobatics, though the action phase of the game has its rigors, the locales and the ambience of the locations is a very important part of the magic of this remarkable series that rises far above that of a mere fast fiction thriller series.



Lara Explores Inca Ruins TRL



Lara in Tokyo

Lara is developed as a character in some interesting ways, she is far more than a femme fatale or a action hero, for over the series, her character is edgy and not always fully viewed in the light, for she moves in the shadows too, and her enigmatic and wry sense of whimsy and risky humour comes out in a variety of ways..so she is an intriguing part of the game experince.



Close up of Lara in TRL



A Darkly Dangerous Lara on the roofs of Tokyo

The challenge with such a series game which has high demands on the abilty of the game engine to allow full movement and also to give the feeling of immersion are great and the way that Edios and the developer Core Design have achieved this are nothing short of miraculous at times. Lara moves fluidly through many locations, and we have the feeling of being right there with her achieved in many subtle ways.



Lara Enters the Louvre TR Angel of Darkness



Lara Lurking in Paris TR AOD

And the overall feeling is one of actual presence in the 3D environment for the main actor which is a combination of YOU as the player and Lara as the subject ...which achieves a high degree of success in the storytelling of the series.



Lara in the Andes TR L

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