From the Surface to D’ni

A lot of Myst and Uru fans have this dream of one day travelling all the way from the Cleft down to the D’ni cavern. Though as most know, quite a number of complications come to mind along with this idea. Today I sat down (in maths class…) and thought of a plan to make it work. Well, of course there are still complications, but I made part of the plan at least…

Let’s just start with one imporant things (especially these days, it seems): instancing. Well, we first need to decide wether the journey will be public or neighbor instanced (private is a big no-no, of course). I’d like to see public myself, but looking at recent events, there’s a big chance it will be neighbor instanced. I’m not going to decide though.
The first problem is this: the Cleft, the start of our journey down, is, as we all know, privately instanced, whereas the D’ni cavern is public (or alternatively neighbour instanced). This can be solved quite easily: At some point, the player will find a Book or Bahro Stone which will take them to inside the fence around the vulcano. This area will be completely shielded off from the private instance outside it, which will remain the exact same as it is now, so no crossing of the fence from either side.

From that small area, players will be able to enter the vulcano (which will of course look at least similar to the vulcano in Myst 5) and travel down into the tunnels. At some point they will encounter the tunnels dug by the D’ni, and shortly after that the Great Shaft, which they will have to descent either walking or by using the elavators. At the bottom of the Great Shaft, they will traverse some more tunnels and after a short while find the first of the Nexus pedestals scattered throughout the tunnels to D’ni.

About those pedestals: these are needed because the journey down is 2 days when walking, propably around 1 day and a bit when running. And they really do need to make it like that in-game. But obviously people can’t stay at their computer for 24+ hours in a row, so there need to be ‘checkpoints’: the pedestals, which will add a link to your Nexus (in a seperate tab) and you’ll always be able to return there. There can’t be too many, because otherwise you wouldn’t be able to remember which one to take in the Nexus. But at the same time, there need to be enough so they aren’t spaced too far apart. I’d say 12 links should do. Spread over a distance of 30 hours, that would mean one every 2.5 hours.

Okay, 2.5 hours still seems a bit much perhaps… Well, I’d happily sit behind my computer that long to get to a new pedestal, but the majority propably will not. But they will have more reason to if there are rewards. And the cooler the rewards, the more reason. A few rewards I came up with are:

  • Relto pages. Always good. Two or maybe three could be found along the way.
  • Real firemarbles that we can turn on and off to be able to see in the dark bits of the journey, and also for use in other Ages of course.
  • About just a bit past halfway should be the really cool-looking and amazing lava part that Atrus and Gehn also went through. Of course the player will have to take one to three leaps to get past it, like them.
  • There could be trams at some point(s) to take the player across a large distance quickly, and also show them some really nice views.
  • And of course at the end will be the astonishing, amazing, astrablogical view of the D’ni cavern as the player enters it (by foot!). And don’t forget the boatride to Ae’gura!
  • These rewards should be spread pretty evenly along the journey but the first one (whichever that will be) should be at least 2-3 pedestals along the way, if not more.
    Also, to keep it interesting there should be a lot of diversity along the way, and not just one path to follow but also sidepaths and alternative routes, and all. Just like in the Myst books and on Aitrus’ map.

    A problem that comes to mind with all of this is the size of the ‘Age’. If it takes 30 hours to traverse, running, it’s bound to be large. Even though it’s only a set of caves, it might still be too hard on the average computer. That’s why I think it needs to be divided into at least 3 sections. But how can you do this without losing the realism?

  • A part of the cave could have collapsed near a Nexus pedestal. The trick is to register the Nexus link at one side of the blockade, and then use that link from the Nexus, and the link-in point will be just on the other side of the rubble. But! that will be another part of the journey (so game-technically another Age). However, if this idea would be used, the journey could propably not be neighbor instanced, because the Nexus would link to the public version.
  • This second idea is kind of the same as the first, only there is not a Nexus pedestal. In stead, there’s a Book written by Yeesha which links directly to the other side of the rubble and to the other ‘Age’.
  • I like this one least, but it’s still an idea. Remember the tramride I mentioned? There could be a transition (‘link’) in the middle of that. Same goes for the boatride.
  • Of course these ideas could all be used to cut the journey into three/four pieces.

    By the way, speaking of the boatride; it should take you to the public/neighbour instanced Ae’gura. Another seperate instance wouldn’t be any fun.
    This would obviously require the Ae’gura ‘Age’ to be changed to allow the boat to come sailing at the island (currently the architecture of the island and the cavern isn’t suited for that).

    Another thing I thought of was that, when someone is in those caves, /shout should be disabled, because people can be such a great distance apart. Also, the KI should only display Age Players that are at least relatively close to the player.

    I think those were pretty much all my ideas for now… I’m sending a link to this to Cyan as well, who knows, maybe they’ll be able to use something from it :)


    1 Response so far »

    1. 1

      Tweek said,

      I think if we have access to the tunnels, being able to hop over the fence and down into the volcano is a must, if it’s going to be done it needs to be done properly.

      Personally I don’t see why the trek into D’ni has to be a Yeesha thing, I would see it more as a DRC or historic thing.

      As for the tram thing, a good idea, it gets to show nifty things, personally I would prefer no tram. As for linking mid tram, that just doesn’t work. How would you explain shifting instances during the ride not to mention you’re tootling along then suddenly there’s a black loading screen.

      Perhaps having a public shaft which goes up to a public cleft and down to a public city? A ferry service that goes to and from Ae’Gura, people can hop on go up to the surface, actually hang out at the cleft with friends?

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