For all those people who couldn't make it to Mysterium, the annual fan-run convention for Myst and URU, here's a summary of what you missed (just like us actually).
Friday, August 1st
Cleft Location Research Panel
Ainia has been working on finding the location of the cleft for a long time now, starting a huge forum thread on the Myst Online forums. At Mysterium, she gave a summary of the findings so far and held a short Q&A. You can read the summary and transcript of the Q&A here and the forum topic here.
K'laamas managed to get some more words from Richard "RAWA" Watson at Cyan and presented a few new D'ni words. There was also a D'ni phrases handout given out to everyone who attended. If you're interested in the D'ni language, check out the Guild of Linguists.
Saturday, August 2nd
Proteus is a very strange game. In fact, in some ways, it’s not a game so much as a virtual atmosphere. There is no story, no conflict, and no obstacles. What there is, however, is a beautiful, colorful world with charming music and immersive sounds.
The game places you on a gorgeous island, full of trees, mountains, a cabin, and even some ruins on the hills. Birds fly in the trees, chickens and small woodland creatures scurry across the ground, and even flies can occasionally be seen. Clouds flit across the horizon, rain falls, wind blows, day turns into night and back again. It is a thoroughly realized, self-sustaining world.
All this is rendered in the game’s deceptively simple pixelated style. I say ‘deceptively’ because Proteus, despite its appearance, is actually a fairly graphics-intensive game. When I first purchased it, I found it wouldn’t run on my laptop, and had to re-install on my more robust desktop. Proteus may not have the details and textures of more popular games, but it works hard on bringing the essentials to life. When the wind blows, the trees rustle and billow in the wind. When the rain falls, little ripples can be seen on the surrounding ocean. Proteus’ graphics teach the player to appreciate the world, the overall impression formed from a sunset over the ocean, rather than the thousands of individual grass stems that often make the graphics of higher-end games seem noisy. Read more
The D’ni Musicological Research Hood has been in existence since the previous Myst Online: URU Live published by Gametap. Turjan, a musician, luthier, and now a composer, founded it with Kalhia early in that era. Its purpose was to recreate D’ni music. Instruments discovered included the Ahnomeprad (crystal bowed harp), Maral-Obe (similar in sound to the armenian duduk) and Khanehn (Canen).
With the demise of MOUL in 2008, and the two years of its closure, many of the cavern musicians dispersed and the musical activities ceased. When Myst Online: URU Live Again opened on February 8, 2010, Turjan returned, re-opened the DMR, and gave a live concert in celebration on the 28th. On St. Patrick’s Day, Turjan and Musica shared a performance of Celtic music live in the DMR, alternating between Turjan’s Celtic harp and Musica’s mandolin playing. She explains, “I had a small jewelry hammer that I used to hold down the Tab (voice chat) key while I played.” A few months later, Turjan’s visits in the cavern dwindled, leaving a gap in the musical activity in the DMR. He has since appeared in the cavern on occasion to share albums he composed based on Myst: Tadjinar, D’Marnah, and Liquid Light.
Christine, Musica and others considered what to do to keep the music going. The technique of using voice chat for music was less than satisfactory for sound and audience-wise. Enter Ranting Thespian, a music and drama performer, who introduced them to Ustream, which he used for online concerts. Christine and Musica set up sites on Ustream and, after experimenting with various days and times, settled on Saturday at 1800 KI time. Read more
A review of: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons...
Recommended!... A grandiose 9 out of 10
This game was released some time in August / September 2013 for Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. It is developed by the Swedish Starbreeze Studios and published by 505 Games. It is also available on Steam. I had a go at it with the PC version from Steam and ran it on a laptop with way less specs than required for the game, on Win 7 and a 19" screen hooked to it without any problems. On a side note, this game uses the Unreal Engine 3.
In brief, this is a game you will surely remember a long time after you've done it once or twice or even more. It has an unique mood to it and an emotionally compelling narrative. The sceneries are very often of breathtaking beauty and are massive in scale. The enviroments are like they are taken from some mythology, fairytales or old folklores.
Note: this article was written several months ago, when Obduction was first announced. It's been on the backburner for all these months, thanks to the heroic laziness of the magazine's editors, but it's out now, so... enjoy!
When Dear Esther was first released as a standalone game, I considered writing game reviews for the magazine, starting with Dear Esther. A lot of people on the forums were enthusiastic about it, but I never found the time to sit down and write it all down. Now here we are, over two years later, and here is my review of Dear Esther.
When I downloaded Dear Esther, I played with the game for maybe half-an-hour and then uninstalled it, too disappointed by my own expectations to continue.
I expected it to be a game. It isn't.
I was reminded of it recently, when The Stanley Parable was released, and after watching TotalBiscuit's talk on what constitutes a game, I decided to go back and finish playing Dear Esther. Playing it again without any real expectations, I found I could actually appreciate it more than I thought I ever would. Simply by not seeing it as a game, I could appreciate it for what it is: art. Read more
Phew, have you had a look at the date recently? I just did, and like every year, I noticed that this one is nearly over again. I could start all that “Jeez, time’s too short” whining again, but, although that’s true, it would probably be inappropriate because so much has happened in so little time.
The following is my small personal summary of events that made this advent season a very special one.
RAND MILLER INTERVIEW IN DMR 07/22/13
Picture by Alex McLarty
DMR: We have a bunch of questions from fans of URU that were submitted on the forum. I did send them off to Rand and we’re gonna be picking through those and answering questions for everybody. Here’s Rand, everyone.
RM: Hey everybody. I’m sure that with the number of questions we’ve got here, there will never, ever be any more questions after I answer these. I’m just going to answer them and you guys will never have any questions ever again. Thank you guys for having me. I don’t have to do much work. I was just saying earlier, I just pop in, answer questions, and hang out with you guys.
DMR: Will there ever be a new Myst or URU game? Read more
“Writing music is hard. You don’t do it for money. You do it because you have a passion for it. The money will follow. And, it feels great when you know you communicated it well to others.”
“I can’t believe no one’s made a movie of Myst. The idea for Myst is one of the greatest story ideas I’ve ever heard in my life. How cool is it that you can write a world into a book and then go there?”
- Jack Wall, DMR interview 03/16/13
“The most important thing is to know which music is good. I was sent a lot of music when I worked at Cyan. 95 % of it was unusable.”
- Tim Larkin, DMR interview 05/04/13
Music always has been an integral part of the Myst and URU gaming experience. Having heard the Jack Wall and Tim Larkin interviews in the D’ni Musicological Research hood this year, it would seem that the paths to success in the burgeoning video game music industry are not identical and have a lot of twists and turns. While the two men quoted above got there and have much in common, their journeys were quite different. What follows are some of the highlights of those two interviews. Read more
This is the story of how the Football Game Cup and the Water Polo Game Cup were made into reality by [X], Stone and Mister Magic...
In the past, or as far as I care to remember, as I've only been in MOULa for some three years, there haven't been too many sporting events that anybody could participate in. I know I've suggested, and perhaps others too, things like the "D'ni'piads": Olympic Games in D'ni style, or any other such activities. It seems to be difficult to get people gathered for a common event of this kind. An odd door run can be made on the spot, but planning something bigger and grander is more tricky. It takes somebody with determination and stubborness to pull it through!
In 2012, there was discussion on the Guild of Writers' forum about a Soccer or Croquet field on which Karkadann was working. And in November, there was an image of that field layed out in Minkata. That image created the initial spark. Stone had already been working on a script of his own for a month when [X] (aka Kaaja) approached him with the idea of making a Football field. Luckily, his project could be adapted as a base for this new idea. After about a week of tweaking that and reworking the Age, a series of test matches commenced.
Minkata made into a Croquet field. Read more
It's time for our Monthly Column again, this time for March and the first part of April. This will cover the DMR Q&A event with Jack Wall, as well as the St. Patrick's Day celebrations in the Cavern. It also has a summary of the second Water Polo Game, the Cup consisting of five games in total.
(To be able to continue publishing this, we of course need the community's support! To report about events, news and what's happening in the Cavern.) Read more