Archive for Theories and Speculation

Alice: Madness Returns

Hey ho,

Some days ago the first real information on the sequel to 2000 game American McGee’s Alice was released, among which a trailer, a bunch of screen-shots, an official website and the game’s title: Madness Returns. Although I’m going on vacation tomorrow, I just had to spend some time noting my observations of the promotional material released so far. Note that I won’t be discussing the projected quality or ‘worthiness’ of this sequel, it’ll just be observations and speculations. Also, it’s been some years since I played the original, so there’s probably going to be some things that I’ll miss out on. Please feel free to post any additions you have in the comments!

Let’s start with the trailer. You can watch it right right under here, though if you haven’t seen it yet, I advice you to watch it in HD on the website.

So, quite a bit more morbid than the original, I think (or at least as I remember it). But, for those of you who, like me, fear not, as the screenshots seem more in-tune with the original atmosphere.

Anyway, there are a lot of little details in this trailer. Let’s go from start to finish…

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Terabithia – Origins

Ruins near TerebI’ve recently been enchanted by the movie Bridge to Terabithia. I’m not going to go on a rant about how great I think it is, but I ordered the DVD, original book and movie companion book the day after I saw it, which expresses the gravity of my fondness for it (and my impulsive buying habits).

In addition to that, I did some research on the name ‘Terabithia’. I already wrote about this on the A Place For Us forums, but I thought I’d also post them here because I thought the results were rather interesting, and maybe Terabithia fans will come across it here (also, it’s a good enough reason to do a blog post). There’s also a treat for Myst fans at the end, so those of you who fall into that category; keep reading!

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Tomb Raider: Legend – Time-spanning Cutscenes Combined

If you are playing or planning on playing Tomb Raider: Legend, I advice you not to read on or watch the video, as it will completely ruin the essence of the storyline for you.

In the story of Legend, a portal exists that spans time. Up to now, it has been visited twice by Lara Croft (the protagonist, in case you didn’t know). The first time when she was but a child, and later when she had grown her famous huge reputation. As mentioned before, the portal spans time, and she (and her mother) are actually talking to herself (and her mother). However, she doesn’t realize this until the second encounter. These two moments (although they could be seen as one and the same) are brought to the player in two seperate cutscenes at completely different moments in the game (though at roughly the same location).

To clarify what is happening, I combined the scenes into one movie, showing what’s happening at both sides of the portal. I think it turned out quite nice.

I downloaded the original Xbox recordings of the cutscenes from YouTube:
Bolivia – Nepal, Part 2
Bolivia Redux – Answers Breed Questions
As such, credit goes to user TombRaiderCentral.

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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 :)

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    Pod map

    Recently, the most interesting pod map was placed in the Ae’gura museum by Cate Alexander herself. Much speculation and discussion has been going on about its many aspects, the results of which I (and some others) have gathered here, on MYSTlore. I think it might be a great help for people who don’t feel like reading through pages and pages of forum posts to find out what the map means…

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    New DRC Site

    Unlike its title suggests, this post is not about the restyled D’ni Restoration Council website, but rather about the list of Ages they are working on, which can be found on that same website. I tried finding as much info about the unknown ones as I could and add a little of my own theory here and there. But first, here’s an explanation of the restoration phases, copied from DPWR.

    The DRC has charged itself with the safe and dutiful restoration of all of the Ages left behind by the D’ni. The restoration is seperated into five “phases” or stages.

  • Phase 1: Initial Mapping – During this Phase, basic maps and documents are created for the Age or location being restored. These documents are later detailed further in phase 3. Dr. Kodama is the head DRC member in charge of this phase.
  • Phase 2: Structural Analysis – All structures and supports are examined for integrity and safety. Dr. Kodama also heads the completion of this phase.
  • Phase 3: Detailed Analysis – The Age or location is given a thorough examination by a survey team, which creates extensive maps and additional documentation on the area. Dr. Sutherland is in charge of this phase.
  • Phase 4: Restoration – This is the most extensive phase, during which all machinery is repaired, structures are secured, and cleanup is performed. Mr. Engberg is in charge of operations in this phase.
  • Phase 5: Limited Access – In this final phase before completion, the Age or location is opened for limited access by authorized explorers. Dr. Sutherland oversees the operations of this phase.
  • Now for the actual discussion… (phases are between brackets)

    SPOILERS AHEAD!

  • Ae’gura Aquarium (1) – A good start, since I don’t know anything about this one, just that there are “severe cracks in tanks”. Some fans theorize this is the “Sunken Vessel”.
  • Ae’gura Arch Museum (1) – Same here, I’m afraid.
  • Ae’gura City Interior 0054 (2) – Kodama recommends suspension.
  • Ae’gura City Interior 0062 (1) – Needs power, according to the DRC site.
  • Ae’gura City Interior 0078 (3) – No info.
  • Ae’gura City Interior 0082 (1) – Apparently, there’s a pillar there.
  • Ae’gura Guild Hall (1)DPWR: This building housed the Council Chambers, where matters of state were debated by the D’ni Council. The building is described as something of a massive map of the D’ni caverns, with an entry vestibule in the shape of the main cavern, and smaller caverns linked off to one side, also in the shapes of their respective locations. The vestibule was decorated on one side with a tree-like entryway which led into the Council Chambers. These chambers were circular, with 18 columns supporting the roof, from which hung the crests and colors of each of the 18 major Guilds. Stairs, which doubled as seats, led down into the center of the room, where five stone thrones sat, reserved for the five Great Lords of D’ni. Me: The DRC has seccured the front entrance but is going to need more manpower. I hope we’ll be able to start our own guilds, someday in the far future (by the time D’ni has really been restored). Also, remember the disaster that happened back in, what was it, 2004? With Henderson and all…
  • Ae’gura Museum (5)DPWR: Two Ages confirmed to have been in the Museum at the time of the Fall are Neghilan (a zoo Age, of sorts) and Todelmer (an astronomy Age). Me: This project has been completed and should be added soonly! I personally think it will be released at the same time as at least one more Age, which will then have its linking book placed in the museum.
  • Ae’gura Palace Courtyard (2) – Nothing is known about this place, but it seems obvious to me that this is the place behind the big closed gate on the Tokotah Courtyard (picture). Also, maybe this means the balcony at the top of the palace (picture) will at some point be opened up, as well as the broken bridge leading from the palace (picture).
  • Ahnonay (4)DPWR: In the Age of Ahnonay there was a large mechanism holding four spheres, each different. In the first sphere, ‘Ahnonay’ (as most often depicted in images), is made up of rocks and water, with a pinkish overcast sky. Small crab-like creatures called Quabs inhabit this sphere, though it is unknown whether they were placed there by Kadish, or if they found their way in after the Fall. The second sphere was supposedly the same ‘Age’, but deteriorated, with clouds and mist replacing the water, and the rocks eroded. Strange crystaline forms called Ning Trees dot the landscape, and for some reason, register on the large “clock” device in the center of the island. The third sphere was the same ‘Age’ in the future, hanging in space. The fourth sphere was under construction during the Fall, but contains a massive statue of Kadish at the center, and the framework for another ring-shaped island around it. Me: According to the DRC site, the water in Ahnonay is toxic. OOC, I think Ahnonay as seen in the Path of the Shell would be hard to convert to multiplayer, because all sorts of complications could arise. I’m not a programmer though, so I can’t say for sure.
  • Ahnonay Temple (5) – Better known as the Ahnonay Cathedral, this small Age was used by Kadish in conjunction with Ahnonay to fool people into thinking that he could travel through time. The DRC has completed restorations in the Ahnonay Temple, but it’s very unlikely it will be released before Ahnonay.
  • Cavern of Rolep (Suspended)DPWR: According to the Watcher’s journal, it was within this D’ni cavern that the his sight was restored to him after being blinded years ago by a vision of the fire of the Maker. Me: DRC testing failed.
  • City Proper (1) – According to the DRC site, the Belari District is at least part of this proper. DPWR: The Belari District was evidently one of the poorest districts in all of D’ni. There is no record of when the district was originally comissioned, but records do indicate that under King Rakeri, a Theatre Company and Opera House were added to the district, which had fallen into serious disrepair. The district had again fallen into disrepair by King Kedri’s reign, and under his authority, it was further renovated.
  • City Center (1) – No info. I’d think Ae’gura would be the center of the city, so will more unknown areas of it be opened up to the public?
  • Dahtamnay (Suspended) – Suspension recommended due to lack of manpower, by Dr. Kodama. Before the restyle of the DRC website, Dahtamnay’s entry read: environment far too volatile – extreme danger. It is theorized by Durane that, since the Age’s name seems to contain the D’ni phrase “fire-root”, the Age may be heavy volcanicaly active. However, it may also refer to a type of plant on the Age.
  • Dereno (5) – Nothing is known, however it is ready for approval! I think we can expect this Age to be released soon.
  • Eder Gira II (Suspended) – I think this refers to “Beyond Gira” area. DJC: “Beyond Gira” is refered to the area that lies outside the volcanic valley, this is a lush green place with tall rock spires and signs of civilization, currently access to these outer area’s are not possible. It’s a shame it’s suspsended, it should be a cool area.
  • Eder Delin (5) – This Age has already been released, so go check it out if you wish to find out more about it :D
  • Eder Tsogal (5) – Another Garden Age like Eder Delin. It appears to feature a puzzle at least similar to the one in Eder Delin, since a large door and cloths identical to the ones in Eder Delin can be seen in released screenshots.
  • Er’cana (5)DPWR: Er’cana is a large harvest age with a large cerulian sea and snow covered mountains. It is composed of sand, which serves as its soil, and large cliffs, through which open tunnels have been hollowed out to serve as passages to the main industrial buildings. Transportation on Er’cana seems to have been through trams that ran on large tracks throughout the age. Most of the age is inaccessable, as a fissure has opened up under the main track. Me: It should be released in the not too far future.
  • Gahreesen II (4) – The Gahreesen Training Wall! I can’t wait for this to be released. Great, great fun.
  • Gahreesen III (Suspended) – The forest and/or other unexplored exterior features of Gahreesen? When exploring the released exterior features of Gahreesen, we may sometimes hear the call of what sounds like a huge, violant beast (download a recording by me. Try ‘save as’ if it won’t work). This must be what the DRC means, when they say “read Simpson’s report again if you want to know why we won’t be going anywhere near this soon. Scary”.
  • J’taeri District (2)DPWR: J’Taeri is located high on the eastern flank of Ae’gura, and is the site of the Great Tree of D’ni and its associated pub. Many of the richly-furnished houses were owned by senior Guild members, each displaying a large, pentagonal stone shield decorated with the symbol of the owner’s Guild. Wealthy merchants also made their homes here. The architecture of the district is varied and elaborate, with some homes imitating various forms of rock — such as dripstone and flowstone — seen in natural caverns. The mansions of the very wealthiest residents were constructed of a rare and expensive red-veined black stone.
  • Kahlo (Suspended)DPWR: Based on current images and drawings of the Age, it appears to be similar to an elephant graveyard here on Earth, but for much larger creatures. The Age also appears to be inhabited by flying creatures, which dwell in a huge bone-like structure referred to as “the hive”. Me: Should be fun :)
  • Kalamee (Suspended) – Apparently, the resources on this Age are volatile.
  • Katha Island (Suspended)DPWR: Katha Island was one of the many islands that dotted the waters of the cavern of D’ni. During King Emen’s rule, Faresh constructed a mansion on the island, which was later given to the “Guild of Illusionists” (aka the Relyimah) as a base of operations. The mansion is reported to contain numerous illusions, puzzles, and mazes, according to DRC research. Me: Sounds like that big mansion on Terahnee! Exciting indeed. Shame it has been suspended for the moment…
  • K’veer (4)DPRW: This was a mansion located on an island in the lake of the main D’ni Cavern. It looks something like an off centered corkscrew, spiraling up several stories. In the last days of D’ni, Veovis and his father lived there, this mansion having been a family possession for years.. Me: A historical place. It will be interesting to actually visit the places we read about in the books!
  • Negilahn (5)DPWR: Negilahn is a jungle museum Age which contains a diverse array of plant and animal life. The jungle is viewed through a system of pods from which the visitor may look out, similar to those used in Todelmer. In effect, it could be more aptly called the D’ni equivalent of a zoo or wildlife preserve. Me: I’m really going to enjoy exploring this Age… I don’t think we’ll be getting outside, but there should be a lot of interesting views to look at from those pods.
  • Neighborhood – Kirel (5)DPWR: Kirel is the neighborhood where the DRC set up permanent residence in the Cavern. It served as their base of operations, and was not on the list of public ‘hoods in the Nexus. Me: Well, the DRC must have found some new place to serve as their base, as Kirel should be released soon!
  • Neghborhood GameRoom (1) – Exactly no things are known about this game room other than its name and current phase.
  • Payiferen (4) – Same here.
  • Pento (Suspended)DPWR: The Pento Age was Written by the Judges of Yahvo for the purposes of breeding a warrior race to take over D’ni. They succeeded in their efforts, as D’ni fell to the Pento during the Pento War. King Ahlsendar, also known as the Great King, later developed a plague which he unleased upon the Pento as a biological weapon, eradicating the entire race. Me: However, the Age has been suspended for the moment.
  • Pirahnay (Suspended)Dr. Kodama: Strange place. An artist’s Age, of sorts. Much of it can be manipulated and changed within the Age. There was also some backstory/history that was not particularly wholesome. Still trying to figure out much of it, although it’s, quite simply, a very strange place that is even hard to understand what it should be restored to. Me: Again it’s a shame it got suspended. I’ve got a feeling it was because of OOC reasons (well, it all comes down to OOC reasons in the end I guess, but you may get my point).
  • Rahtevnee (2) – “Tentative” phase 2 approval. That’s all I know.
  • Rebek (Suspended)DPWR: Rebek is an Age where some sort of Bahro or slave hunting was said to have taken place, using slaves traded through a D’ni named Manesmo on Teledahn. Dr. Watson: The environment is a large space with some unusual gravitational/magnetic anomalies. We don’t consider it a safe place to be spending a lot of time at the moment. Me: More manpower will be needed in order to unsuspend this Age, but if they succeed, it should be pretty exciting.
  • Teledahn II (1) – Nothing has been disclosed about this, but it won’t be the place where you get the Dock Relto Page, because that’s a Bahro stone, and the DRC doesn’t have much to do with the Bahro. Other than that, the map of Teledahn that, if I remember correctly, we can find in Sharper’s office on Ae’gura, springs to mind. Teledahn II could be anywhere on that map, it doesn’t have to be near the currently accessible area at all.
  • Tetsonot (4) – Nada info!
  • Uran (5)DPWR: Uran was the main industrial complex inside the cavern of D’ni. It was built during the reign of King Me’emen to replace the older Nehw’eril District in 5475 DE. It was constructed far away from the city proper to protect the populace from industrial accidents. Me: If they copy the puzzles from the Path of the Shell to MOUL, Uran will be related to Ahnonay’s and Er’cana’s puzzles.
  • Venalem (Suspended)Old DRC website: environmental ramifications not known. Me: I have no idea what ‘ramifications’ means. Meh, it’s suspended anyways.
  • Watcher’s Sanctuary (4)DPWR: The Great Tree Pub (also referred to as The Watcher’s Sanctuary) is the home of a tree-like structure referred to as the Great Tree of D’ni, and is located in the J’Taeri District of Ae’Gura. Although the Tree dated back to the early 2000s DE, the pub itself was not built until much later, in the late 4000s. It was constructed to honor The Watcher, who had recently published a collection of prophecies in a book which he called Words. Its purpose seems to have been something of an upper-class lounge or sitting room, with the Tree as its focus, where intellectuals of the day could come and discuss their thoughts on philosophy, politics, etc. Me: Yeah, should be interesting enough…
  • 0023 Unknown (Suspended) – No info.
  • 0049 Unknown (Suspended) – No info.
  • That was it! Hope it was enjoyable if not somehow aiding. To conclude, here’s a little list of the Ages/areas I personally think will be added soonest of all the above: Ae’gura Museum, Dereno, Eder Tsogal, Negilahn and Kirel. So start looking forward to those!

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