Making Friends Part 1/5

Hello!

Since Uru is going open source, there’s been a lot of speculation about the standards that fan-created content should keep to, if any, and how to make sure these standards are kept to (well, at least in my mind there has…). In an effort to entertain people, perhaps teach them some things, and at least do something to try and help OSUru move towards a good future, I’m starting a small series of blogposts where I grade and briefly review all the available fan Ages out there right now (that’s to say, those on the Drizzle list of downloadable Ages). If you want to try any of the Ages yourself, follow the instructions here.

Initially I graded the Ages on a scale of 0-10, where 10 would be (at least) Cyan quality, on several categories. The grading categories that I used were Visual Appeal, for anything concerning the graphics, layout etc. of the Age; Integration, meaning how well it fit with the existing Uru Ages and how closely it kept to the D’ni lore, the rules of Writing, etc.; Atmospheric, grading on sound and such; and Enjoyability, a kind of overall modifier that just says how much I enjoyed the Age.

The scores displayed here are on a scale of 0-5 Journey Cloths, where 5 is the Age that came out as the one with the highest grade on the 0-10 scale (which was a pretty low high) and 0 the lowest. So, they’re a simplified reflection of the above criteria. Obviously, these are all based entirely on my own opinion, which may or may not hold any value. Please don’t hate me if I give your Age a low rating and/or a bad review. I’m not trying to insult anyone personally. If you want to lift your Age to a higher level based on my opinion, I can give more detailed criticism if requested.

This review will come in 5 parts. Four parts with each 19 Age gradings/reviews, and an additional part with listings of the top Ages and such. Well, let’s get going!

Abysos (1/5)
The ship bothers me a lot, because it strongly resembles a 17th century earth ship, not something that the D’ni or native inhabitants of the Age would be likely to construct. There’s not much to do in the Age, besides jumping into the fissure and ending up in an empty cavern.

Aerie (1/5)
Would probably look quite okay with better lighting. Regardless of that, this Age seems to have no connection with D’ni at all.

Ahrkane (3/5)
This Age has puzzles! Although they’re not integrated naturally into the environment as would be optimal, it does have them. Graphically perhaps not beautiful, its visuals are interesting at least. Also features some sounds, adding to the atmosphere.

Andy's Nexus (2/5)
A replacement for the normal Nexus, but missing some important Links (such as a Book to the normal Nexus). Visually not too bad! What’s the Goblet of Fire doing there, though…?

Aquh (1/5)
A memorial Age. Not much to do other than read the (incomplete) list of lost Explorers. Visually not impressive.

Atlantis Outpost (0/5)
Nothing!

Bahvahnin (2/5)
Interesting sights and sounds, though no apparent integration with the lore (the statue looks like it could be from a medieval game, the bridge is very surfacey).

Bimevi (5/5)
Very well done on the atmospheric side, graphically also stands out (except for the rainbow explosion around the statue), as well as integrated into the lore. However, no interaction whatsoever.

Botan (3/5)
Quite a lot of interesting interactivity and commendable attempts at creating lore for the Age’s flora/fauna. Graphically not especially appealing.

Bowling Age (1/5)
Obviously not meant to be considered a real Age. But for such a simple project, the Writer could have created a way to get the ball back up on top without re-Linking (unless I’m missing something).

Box Age
Violently crashes upon Link.

Camp Bravo (4/5)
Separate versions for day and night exist. Interesting concept (teaching Maintainers the kind of errors to look for in Ages) although not applicable from an IC point of view (as these errors are mostly technical, for example graphical mistakes). The Age itself features interesting visuals though the design is again very earth-like rather than D’ni. It does have some nice atmospheric features.

Cass (4/5)
Outstanding visuals and a very well-done integration into the lore. Lacks atmospheric features and features no interaction.

Charnassa (1/5)
Very large Age with not so much in it. A lot of long walks to places where there is nothing. Some areas seem to have potential but then there is a random spaceship.

Crater Concept (2/5)
Makes for an interesting experience, at least if you flymode-skip through the long, long walks and swims. Some interesting aspects graphically. A tiny bit of interaction.

Cretaceous (1/5)
An Age with dinosaurs! I doubt the Writer made those themselves because of the lack of quality in the rest of the Age, but they walk and swim around and stuff, pretty cool. The whole thing makes no sense in terms of integration.

DKSkyClub (0/5)
The Duck Knee Skydiving Club? Seems to be about what I guess is supposed to be an airplane in the sky and you can jump off it to end up on Relto…

Dragon's Tooth (2/5)
There seems to be a tediously complex puzzle attached to this one, which I couldn’t be bothered to solve. Other than that there’s just mountains and grass? Contrary to what one might expect, the ‘Classic’ version of this one is actually a bit more interesting, as it features a large underground cave with some interesting geometry to look at and explore.

Eder Licinius (4/5)
I quite like this one. It looks pretty good overall, and it’s interesting to explore. It’s somewhat integrated into the lore and features a few pieces of interaction. The surrounding world is also quite nicely done. The little gondola is, shamefully, not functional (yet).

That was it for the first batch! Go on to Part 2.

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