Obviously the Obduction Kickstarter project is an exciting thing for me. The game Uru Live is also a favorite of mine. I think this leaves Obduction and Uru Live fans wondering how Uru Live will be affected by Obduction. I certainly wonder. So, I want to take a look at a few of the factors that I think are going to affect Uru Live.
With 40+ hours left (US$1,168,159) when I started writing the Obduction Kickstarter has made it’s first goal ($1,100,000) and is headed for the first ‘stretch’ goal: US$1,300,000. Making it to the next goal will add more play area to the game, adding another world to explore. If you haven’t already pledged funds to the project now would be a good time. Or if you can increase your pledge, that too would be great.
Having made the funding goal, we know what Cyan will be working on for the next year plus: building the Obduction game. Obduction is going to be in production for about a year. It’s planned ETA is mid to late 2015.
What about Uru?
For the last five years Cyan Worlds has been busy keeping the company alive. Only in their spare time have they worked on MOULa or what many know as Uru Live. In 2010 Uru Live was put online as a free to play game. Since 2010 Cyan and fans have been in the process of converting it to an open source game.
Both the Guild of Writers (GoW), a Myst-Uru fan group, and Open Uru, another Myst-Uru fan group, have been building the open source server and client sides of the game. Cyan Worlds has been working with the open source community to provide a pathway for fan made content to make its way into the official cyan servers and become part of the game. Cyan has also helped, where they can, with the open source.
Much of the information on how to build content for Uru is provided by the Guild of Writers. Those providing content for Uru are known as age builders. The content they build either goes into private fan servers or enters the pathway to Cyan’s official servers via Open Uru. The pathway is a vetting and debugging process mostly in the hands of fans.
After five years of this process there are still huge problems. Cyan has plans to license their content for use on private servers. But as yet that’s not been completely worked out. So, legal fan servers are made up of mostly fan content. But, as usual there’s lots of underground stuff going on, which is NOT discussed on the Cyan forums.
Also, Cyan has a desire that fan content be distinct from Cyan provided content. If you have played Uru, you know that new areas of the game are found by finding linking books. Once those are found and used copies appear in your personal bookshelf or linking book. In some cases links are added to a place called the Nexus. There’s debate as to how new content will be added either to these existing methods or what new methods might be created to keep Cyan and fan content obviously separate.
Everyone working on these processes and debating these issues works on them in their spare time. Uru open source is a hobby. Things move very slowly.
Along comes Obduction!
Now Obduction is funded, a good thing. But, this may well mean that Cyan has less time to work on Uru Live. Or it may not affect their available time at all. After all Obduction is going to be an 8 to 5 work project. So spare time may remain the same.
At Cyan there’s a lot of excitement about Obduction. I think the ‘excitement’ is going to take more time away from Uru Live than anything else. Consider. My experience is creative energy is seldom split among projects. All the excitement and creative energy flows to the one exciting project. It is what people do.
Fan excitement is going to shift too. That’s going to affect several aspects of the Uru Live fan base. Let’s take a look at some of those aspects.
If you’ve read the project description, you know this new game will be using the latest Unreal Game Engine (UGE). I take that as an affirmation that Cyan Worlds is pretty much going to abandon their Plasma Game Engine (PGE), an engine Cyan owned and was developing and leave it in the hands of the open source community.
The open source PGE is old. It was used for the original Uru Live in 2004. At the time it was a pretty awesome game engine. Uru Live still looks pretty good. While Plasma has had some updates, it is still old and I consider it way out of date. Second Life’s graphics quality now exceeds Plasma’s.
The above video is showing a problem with the Firestorm viewer. But, the bridge and river in Misty Mountains region are a gorgeous example of how SL graphics have improved.