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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

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Myst Online: Uru Live Q&A
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Adventure Classic Gaming is currently offering an interview with Cyan Worlds' Mark Dobratz, producer and product manager of Myst Online: Uru Live. The interview covers a variety of topics ranging from Dobratz's history with Cyan Worlds, the company's financial struggles, and the possibility of allowing player created content in the unique MMORPG.

If the state of an Age is frozen whenever the player logs off, how will persistence be maintained within the game world that fundamentally defines the unique experience of playing a Massive Multiplayer Online Game?
If you’ve spent hours working your way through an Age (by yourself or with friends) but have to stop before you’ve gotten all the way through, you’ll want to find things the way you left them when you come back to that Age, unless the nature of the Age itself reverts or changes things. You don’t want to have to regain the ground you’ve already won just because you had to stop before the finish line. You especially don’t want to find that a stranger has come along while you were away and confused or ruined things.

To prevent those kinds of frustrations, we’ve relied heavily on instancing in Myst Online. Instancing is where we create as many instances of an Age as players who visit that Age. So, essentially, every player gets their own Age instance of every Age they visit, with only a few exceptions (public areas such as the City and some of the Neighborhoods). Then we put the power of access to those owned instances into the hands of the owners themselves. The only way another player can get to your (instance of an) Age is if you invite them. And we’ve created several ways and levels of invitation to give players even more flexibility and control. So, even though it’s been a huge development headache, we’ve got a system that works really well.

Rand Miller has announced that players will be able to add user generated contents to the Uru universe. To what extent can a player create new contents for the game? How will such contents be shared online? What are the differences between the tools that will be made available to the community and the tools that are used internally by the company to create these contents?
We absolutely want to empower players to create their own content - content that can be shared with the community, from simple T-shirt designs to full-blown Ages. That’s our plan, and we’re as excited about that as any of our own content plans. But the reality is, the tools to make that possible need to be made more accessible, and are not trivial to produce. However, we’re working toward that with baby steps, as time allows, and we will get there some day, hopefully sooner than later.

Read the rest of the Q&A at the site listed below.

Adventure Classic Gaming: Mark Dobratz Interview
Myst Online: Uru Live

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