Where to Begin (The Game)

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teedyo
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Where to Begin (The Game)

Post by teedyo » Thu Jan 01, 2009 12:35 am

There has been quite a bit of discussion about how/where to begin the game that doesn't present a world of confusion for the newcomer. Unfortunately; most of this discussion has taken the form of off-topic posts under various headings. I'm not going to copy those posts here but feel free to do so.

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Most discussion has centered around the Cleft, public/private; neighborhoods, and Relto. This is one point that I agree with The Stranger on: an alternate, public surface location.

My thoughts center around a small town or villa that has little more than a Main Street. Perhaps a small general store, a coffee shop/bookstore, a drugstore/arcade/sodafountain, a theater and a compound containing living quarters and a warehouse. The interesting thing about this warehouse is the vertical mine shaft/elevator that allows one to enter the cavern without following The Yeesha. This compound may or may not be the base of field operations for the DRC. My thinking has been along those lines but It could have been left by some other entity. One would have to 'break in' to the compound and restore power before actually getting any where, of course. There would be clues around to point explorers to the different methods of entry.

This little villa would be public. Just how public would be defined by the capabilities of the shard. Perhaps global, perhaps neighborhood related.

Once an 'authorized' explorer has successfully broken into the compound; he/she would venture down into the cavern arriving in a neighborhood. Perhaps the default for 'journey' explorers could be the Bevin style neighborhood and the default for 'authorized' explorers could be the Kirel style.

'Authorized' explorers would be limited to moving about via the nexus; Bahro stones wouldn't work for them since they are not followers of Yeesha and therefore not necessarily sympathetic to the Bahro. If an 'authorized' explorer gets into a journey age; he/she would not be able to complete it as a journey explorer does. Instead of linking to a Bahro cave and receiving a wedgie; they would be linked to the Cleft as a form of hint. Perhaps touching the journey cloths(except at the cleft) would result in a different glow and their reward for trekking through a journey age could be something less spiritual.

I feel that a solution such as this is more workable than a confusing mess of Cleft instances and Descents. I also think that Descent is going to be a huge undertaking and would be best left to an on-going restoration project whereas a few buildings and a shaft could be implemented relatively quickly.

#Problems that I see:
## A system of rewards for the non-journey explorer.
## A method to protect such an explorer from death. -- emergency linking books has been proposed
## Moving from this public area to a private Cleft. I have a possible solution for this.
## I had some more but can't remember them right now.

## A path to reach Descent once it is open.....
For this last; I've come up with a quick and dirty solution. Simply an alternate route from this little villa and moving the fence around the volcano. Suppose that the fence doesn't completely enclose the volcano and there is ground access to it from the side opposite the Cleft. Yeeshaphiles and the others alike could have access which doesn't interrupt the Cleft in any significant way.

This doesn't break any canon that I'm aware of; the DRC has some method of entering the cavern we don't currently know about.


Authorized is 'Authorized' because without the DRC, nobody is really authorized.

EDIT1: With this model; KI retrieval would still happen after reaching a neighborhood via either method. This still leaves the issue of immediate interactivity with other players not currently in this starting area. For this I propose a tool that almost everybody has: a cellular phone. This handy instrument would give newcomers a method for messaging people not in the immediate vicinity.

PS I reserve the right to make edits to this post when my memory clears. :mrgreen:
Last edited by teedyo on Thu Jan 01, 2009 9:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

Dachannien
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Re: Where to Begin (The Game)

Post by Dachannien » Thu Jan 01, 2009 12:54 am

Categorically forbidding people from using Bahro stones would be problematic, because other age creators might use Bahro stones in their ages. That would lead to an inconsistency in terms of some Bahro stones working and others not, given the reasoning of not being followers of Yeesha and thus being barred from using the stones.

Also, I personally liked starting out in the Cleft, as was the case for MOUL. Somehow, a trailer next to a volcano and a rift in the ground in the middle of the American southwest made for a stunning confluence between the normal world and the beautiful-yet-alien worlds inhabited or explored by the D'ni. To each their own, I suppose :) Still, some sort of "why the heck did I come here" intro might be useful, though.

Baron
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Re: Where to Begin (The Game)

Post by Baron » Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:33 am

Extremely cool. Thanks for starting this thread. This is the topic that's been on my mind the most since the open source announcement.

Your Main Street idea took me by surprise because a friend and I actually discussed the idea of starting the game in a bookstore. The point was to present a starting area that could contain books and posters that orient the new player. Ideally, it'd be staffed by Greeters, but it should also be self-explanatory for the times when a Greeter can't be present.

Things would be set up so the new visitor could make an informed choice about Yeesha's path versus the Authorized option right there in the starting area, and then link out to begin their adventure. (Yeesha fans would be sent to the Cleft as it already exists, but with the option of sharing it with friends. The Authorized path would begin with the scenery from the beginning of Myst 5.)

The problem with our approach is that originates on Earth and therefore requires an additional Age (or two) for the visitors to pass through on their way to the Cleft or the Volcano. Your elevator idea never occurred to us. But then I became aware of Alahmnat's Great Shaft thread (viewtopic.php?f=15&t=11). In posting there, I realized that it might be simpler to just move the starting zone off-world.

So... what would you say to moving your villa concept off-world? Perhaps it could be an abandoned facility that belonged to a lesser guild, or even someone's mansion.

teedyo
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Re: Where to Begin (The Game)

Post by teedyo » Thu Jan 01, 2009 9:05 am

The concept I have in my mind has no need for an off-world hop; just a little stroll for Yeesha followers and a break-in for the more 'material' types. I don't think that an off-world starting point would be good in an IC sense. How would we get there to begin with?

That was my thought with the bookstore/coffee shop idea as well. I've also considered the use of a NPC to help with interactive direction as well. Unfortunately, interactive NPCs are a load of work what with animations and state space trees(neural net if you prefer) for pseudo interactive conversation.

realXCV
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Re: Where to Begin (The Game)

Post by realXCV » Thu Jan 01, 2009 11:29 am

If we create a new starting place, we also need to create a new intro movie. None of the current one is designed for a game that begin in a villa.

Dachannien
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Re: Where to Begin (The Game)

Post by Dachannien » Thu Jan 01, 2009 1:04 pm

Baron wrote:Things would be set up so the new visitor could make an informed choice about Yeesha's path versus the Authorized option right there in the starting area, and then link out to begin their adventure. (Yeesha fans would be sent to the Cleft as it already exists, but with the option of sharing it with friends. The Authorized path would begin with the scenery from the beginning of Myst 5.)
Personally, I think part of the charm of Yeesha is that she depended upon people making an uninformed choice to follow her quest. (I won't go into details here because folks who've never played might read this at some point, and I wouldn't want to spoil it for them.) Maybe that's not what you meant, though.

sarpedon2
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Re: Where to Begin (The Game)

Post by sarpedon2 » Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:07 pm

The villa idea's good but I had the idea of starting the game outside these Indian Pueblo ruins. They would've belonged to the tribe that met Yeesha when she first went to the Cleft. The buildings would contain journals of Yeesha and other past Explorers who had found themselves at this place. The buildings could only accessed by ladders (like actual pueblos) that go to roofs. At the highest point of the ruins, looking out to the vast desert would be ancient telescope. If you looked through it, you'd be able to see the Cleft and upon looking away, a large platform in front and below you would open up, revealing two stair cases. At the bottom of these stairs would be a large shrine, dedicated to Yeesha and the Bahro, with pictographs around the wall. In the centre, under a huge tablet that can only be opened with a weight puzzle would be a Bahro Stone that would link to the Cleft that was left by Yeesha.
Upon arrival at the Cleft, you would notice that things are different. Some of the barbed wire had been cut around the Volcano and at the top would be a small pierce of scaffolding that would allow Explorers to safely enter the caldera. Zandi would still be sitting outside his Airstream and will give you some Exploring clothes and equipment to take. After collecting your Relto Book and page, you could then choose to either 1)go on Yeesha's journey or 2) enter the caldera and travel to D'ni through the caves.

I realize that if this idea was a reality then the appearence of scaffolding around the volcano would've have to be explained (maybe Zandi could say something) and the history of the Indian Pueblo and how they made contact with Yeesha and the Bahro.

Baron
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Re: Where to Begin (The Game)

Post by Baron » Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:39 am

teedyo wrote:I don't think that an off-world starting point would be good in an IC sense. How would we get there to begin with?
I was thinking it could be presented like the beginning of Myst. The player would see a book on a nondescript surface, then be able to link through to the welcome center.

The question of how each player receives or finds the book could be left to the individual's imagination, or the intro movie could show a book-shaped parcel being delivered. Perhaps Zandi or the DRC or someone is mailing them out.

realXCV wrote:If we create a new starting place, we also need to create a new intro movie. None of the current one is designed for a game that begin in a villa.
I think that might be a good thing, this time around. I love the existing one, but I think the game's intro should be less cryptic. It's fun for puzzlers and maybe explorers, but it should be welcoming to people who might enjoy Uru for other reasons.

teedyo wrote:The concept I have in my mind has no need for an off-world hop; just a little stroll for Yeesha followers and a break-in for the more 'material' types.
Fair enough. I suspect that could raise an issue for purists because the one way to walk to D'ni from the surface is taken to be well-documented. What if the warehouse basement's elevator leads to a side tunnel that somehow branches into the existing network that connects to the Great Shaft? Your ideas for a non-Yeesha 'authorized' path already dovetails with the Great Shaft plan pretty well.

I like the idea letting the new arrivals break into something in the starting area. Including a puzzle gives new visitors an idea of how things can work in Uru, and hopefully there would be Greeters around to give feedback.

sarpedon2 wrote:The villa idea's good but I had the idea of starting the game outside these Indian Pueblo ruins.
I think this could work well too. Putting the welcome area in view of the volcano does simplify the presentation and help orient the player.
sarpedon2 wrote:I realize that if this idea was a reality then the appearence of scaffolding around the volcano would've have to be explained (maybe Zandi could say something) and the history of the Indian Pueblo and how they made contact with Yeesha and the Bahro.
That would rock. :) It's a chance for the arrival zone itself to show new players that Uru can be about visiting locations that tell stories, deciphering petroglyphs and so on.

Dachannien wrote:Personally, I think part of the charm of Yeesha is that she depended upon people making an uninformed choice to follow her quest. (I won't go into details here because folks who've never played might read this at some point, and I wouldn't want to spoil it for them.) Maybe that's not what you meant, though.
Hmm, you are right. I really just meant that the player should have some idea what the experience of following Yeesha's journey will be like, as opposed to the experience of traversing the Great Shaft. They should also be aware of any consequences the choice will have on long-term gameplay.

At this point, it's hard to be sure what the long-term effect is. If we have the resources, it'd be great to have a Relto alternative for 'authorized' explorers. If we do, of course, it'll still probably just be an aesthetic and roleplay choice. Both paths should offer panic-linking, a base to share books from, and so on.


Cool discussion. I really hope one of these ideas is used as the basis for the game's beginning.

The stranger
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Re: Where to Begin (The Game)

Post by The stranger » Fri Jan 02, 2009 10:55 am

Here's my idea. I posted it in some other places, but I think it's fitting here better than any other place:

After a short cutscene of you arriving, you arrive in New Mexico desert. This is a public place. In oreder to put a little more feel of "history" in the place, there's an old west style cart, it's very old and broken (some wheels are gone).

From afar, you can see the volcano. Running towards it, you disappear, and reappear again in the regular volcano place (so you won't have to run all the way).

The gate near you is open (if you didn't notice yet, there's a closed wooden gate near the arrival place of te cleft). Walking through it, you arrive back at the public desert, all your progress is saved of course.

It's not really related, but near a torn in the fence around the volcano (from which you will enter the caldera), there's a DRC restoration engineer, he will work like Zandi: telling you to listen to laxman's message down at the tunnels. You can always return to him in order to get hints for the tunnels to D'ni. The first time you reach D'ni as an autherized explorer, the man disappear from your cleft (like zandi when you take a relto book).

That's it.
Both paths should offer panic-linking
For followers: relto book. For autherized: small emergancy link-back books to the 'hood. After you link, they will fall down, and diappear. When want to link at earth- books aren't working (can't link from earth to earth), you get a special option at the confusing places (like d'ni tunnels), which makes your avatar look very confuzed, finally linking out by a bahro (this will not be available at unconfusing places, like ae'gura lower city, where you can find a nexus book everywhere). Panic linking while in earth- bahro linking again.
a base to share books from
For followers: relto bookshelf. For autherized: there's a bookshelf next to the classroom imager in te 'hood. 'hood owner choose what books to put there.

sarpedon2
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Re: Where to Begin (The Game)

Post by sarpedon2 » Fri Jan 02, 2009 11:12 am


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