Thursday, June 15, 2006

Relentless Onwards!

by Mowog

That's a quote from the classic comic strip, "Pogo." And it pretty much describes the situation with Cyan, Uru, and the Myst community. It also means that any Myst blog that isn't updated regularly will become out of date pretty rapidly, since news -- significant news -- is happening all the time.

It's well known now that Uru Live will be launching again later this year, and this is thrilling news for the community. It's also made life at CCN a little more complex, in that the range of topics we cover has suddenly grown, and the importance of timely updates has increased somewhat. This is a challenge, because the CCN staff is a diverse collective that spans the globe. We're finding to our chagrin that communication under such circumstances is a real challenge, so please bear with us as we try to bring you the best and latest in Uru-related news and entertainment.

And then there's Mysterium... for this writer, fan conventions have never appealed. But Mysterium, particularly THIS Mysterium, was more than I could resist. Plans are coming together; several of us from The Cavern Today will be there, and the experience promises to be memorable. Many of us have developed genuine friendships thanks to The Cavern Today, but have never met face-to-face in real life. Although a few of us have posted pictures of ourselves at one time or another, it's going to be a very odd feeling to walk into a room filled with strangers and know them only by their voices! And it will be stranger yet to see people who are accustomed to socializing via Uru avvies bouncing off of each other in a crowded room... "Oops, pardon." "Excuse me."

It's funny how the common things are becoming oddly interesting as we make Mysterium plans. Again, I only know some of our staffers by their voices and avvies... but when I was chatting with SuperGram and discussing arrival times, meeting up at the Spokane airport, sharing a car rental, finding where all the restaurants are, etc., the reality started to sink in. Several of us are actually going to meet, and spend a couple or three days together! What a thought. It's fun to think that we'll be a closer team after this. In future Skype chats we'll actually remember faces, and the good times we had in Spokane. I can't wait...

Oh, we're talking about putting together a "live" reading of Journey of the Called sometime that weekend. That should be fun!

So that's it for now. See you later,

Mowog

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Life Goes on... and Gets Better!

by Mowog

Apologies for the long delay since the last post! A lot's been going on, both at Cyan and throughout the community.

The big story recently is that five liaisons have at last been elected by the community at the request of the DRC. Even though there were difficulties, the DRC seems very satisfied with the outcome of the elections, and has already held several meetings in-Cavern with liaisons and explorers. Even though the rule of the day is still "cautious optimism," this new era of open communication has been a breath of fresh air. Never before has the DRC made themselves so available, and for that we're thankful.

As for The Cavern Today, in April we bade farewell to our founder and producer Ruby O'Degee. Ruby has moved on to a rather different role as coordinator for The Cavern Players, and it will be a treat to continue working with her in that role. More than anything else, Ruby is a storyteller. The Cavern Players will give us the opportunity to concentrate on that storytelling, even branching away from the Uru theme occasionally. But TCP will continue to be there for The Cavern Today, providing future installments of Journey of the Called and other features. Stevecrox has been selected to take over Ruby's role, assisted by a group of other staffers. Welcome, Steve!

2006 should be a very interesting time for us at CCN. As mentioned, communication with the DRC has resumed, and Cyan is working very hard with a potential sponsor in a serious effort to bring back Uru Live in some form. When that happens, CCN will be there to report the news in whatever way we can. Whether it's news, a look back at Cyan gaming history, music, drama... CCN is committed to bringing our best to the Uru community. Stay tuned!

Shorah all,

Mowog

Thursday, March 09, 2006

If they come... Cyan will build it!

by Mowog

That may be a rather clumsy reference to Field of Dreams, but it's a very apt summary of the current state of Uru. The word has gone out from the DRC; and has been echoed in chats with Cyan insiders; that we're presently in a very critical phase of Uru.

There are two things we need to do:

1. Spend as much time on the new D'mala shard as we can.

2. Do all we can to see that others also make it down to the Cavern and Ages via D'mala.

There's a very good reason for this. Cyan would like, more than anything, to resume development on Uru Live. They've told us that a fully functional Uru Live was their dream, their "baby." They sunk all they had; and more; into development of Uru, intending for Uru Live to be the revolutionary new experience that would insure their future. And as we saw, Live died due to premature cancellation based on a perceived lack of interest.

So now Cyan is trying again. They have potential funding in place, but before they can fully devote their efforts to a new Uru, they need to know if the interest is there. The original cancellation was a rather complicated matter. Many purchasers of Uru never registered for Prologue because they hadn't yet finished the single-player game. Others hesitated because they wanted to wait until Prologue was fully debugged and ready for prime time. The whole affair was somewhat confused, and we may never know exactly what happened.

But it's different this time. We now have a clear opportunity -- an invitation, actually -- to show Cyan how much we want Uru Live. Let's treat the original cancellation as a "lesson learned," and embrace this chance to overwhelm Cyan with our enthusiasm! If you're already on D'mala, invite anyone else you know who's ever played Uru in any form to join the new shard. Publicize Uru, get the word out... and hopefully this will be the start of something amazing.

At this moment, perhaps more so than two years ago, numbers count. Cyan, and their potential backer, need to be assured that Uru is a worthy investment. Let's show them, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that Uru Live is worth it.

Hope to see you in the Cavern!

Mowog

Friday, February 17, 2006

Talking to Rand

Shortly after we started The Cavern Today in August of last year, a few of us were chatting and brainstorming ideas for future podcasts. Somebody brought up the idea of interviewing various personalities from the Myst community, and we came up with a list of prospects, mostly shard admins etc., who had made some sort of impact in the community. And as our conversation wore on, one of the staffers dared to fantasize about someday interviewing someone from Cyan Worlds. In the rosy flush of our optimism, none of us dismissed that idea. It seemed possible somehow, though we had no idea how soon it would actually happen.

If you've been following our podcasts for a while, you'll remember the Ryan Miller interview from Podcast 5, and the GreyDragon feature from Podcast 8, "Cyantists" both. It was as a result of those interviews that we got a message from GreyDragon asking if Rand Miller could make an announcement to the community using our Podcast... probably in late January or early February.

Needless to say, this was huge. To Myst avids, Rand is The Man. He's not only the CEO of Cyan, he's the lead -um- "imaginater?" (Sorry, Disney's already used "Imagineer.") We've seen him in the games as Atrus and the original Achenar. His calm, resonant voice has introduced most of the adventures as we launched them for the first time. For we veterans, he was Cosmic Osmo.

So this past Wednesday afternoon, we opened Skype shortly before the appointed time, chatted with other staffers and waited... until the "phone" rang, and there he was.

We were immediately impressed by the fact that he seemed cheerful and eager to speak with us. Ryan and GreyDragon had stressed in their interviews that Cyan feels a deep appreciation for their fans, and Rand made us feel very comfortable and welcome. This isn't the place to relate what we talked about; I can only recommend that you listen for yourself by downloading the interview from our website at www.thecaverntoday.com. It's worth a listen!

On a related note, the staff of The Cavern Today would like to express our gratitude to our fans! If it wasn't for you, we wouldn't be part of this wonderful project!

Shorah,

Mowog

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Stories For Then; and a Story for Now

I was an avid reader as a kid. While my main interests seemed to focus on cars and airplanes, I was also very fond of adventure stories. I had no trouble at all placing myself in the situations described in those stories, and I always felt like I was right there with my heroes through thick and thin. After finishing a good book, I always felt a little bit heroic myself, larger than life somehow. I'd been places, and done things, and I had the memories to enjoy afterwards.

I hoped to inspire that same interest in our son, and for many years, the hour before bedtime became our book time. We'd visit the library regularly, looking for the most interesting picture and story books we could find; and in the process we became avid fans of some of the best illustrators and storytellers working today. Fortunately our son is now a lover of books, which is a good thing; he's nineteen years old, and is a freshman in college.

I still enjoy reading myself, still feeling that time spent with a good book is never wasted. But it seems like a lot of the innocent magic that I felt with books as a kid has passed somehow. I've been around, seen a lot; maybe seen too much; and I unavoidably see the stories I read today through the eyes of age and experience.

Anyway, I've said all that just to illustrate what I brought to the Myst games when they first appeared. I found them extraordinary then, and I still do. In the worlds of Myst, we're truly drawn into the stories. And not only are we part of those stories, we're essential to their outcome. The story can't even happen without us, as we bring our ingenuity to bear on the problems of the characters.

The same thrill I felt with those storybooks as a child is what drives me to take part in the Myst adventures today; but the added thrill of actually participating in those stories is priceless. Uru was meant to capture that element in all of us, and allow us to share our adventures together. What an utterly amazing concept... Cruel reality brought Uru to a very premature conclusion, but the enthusiasm shown by the fans, in particular the Until Uru fans, has shown that there are a great many of us out there with that same love for a good story well told, and with a real hunger to be immersed in that story, and to share it with kindred spirits.

There are subtle indications that something exciting might happen soon in the world of Uru. I'm keenly anticipating what may come next; above all, I hope that it's a good story, and I hope that I'll have friends to share it with!

Shorah,

Mowog

Thursday, February 02, 2006

In Memory...

Last week saw a very sad occasion, the death of one of the community, one who was liked and respected by all who knew him. On Sunday 29th January 2006, a memorial service was held on the Lost City of Atlantis Shard in honor of James Carpenter, known also as Aquila. Unfortunately due to the large number of people in the city I was unable to attend until after the first part was over, but the Ceremony was started with the Honor Guard standing in line beside the Great Tree in a "missing man formation", facing the Takota building. Aeronie began the ceremony with a short speech about James, about his humour and his generosity to the community despite his own needs, and asked the crowd to sit in silent vigil with her for two hours. The guests were then invited to say a few words about their feelings, which here I collect:

J'mee:
To most of us here, James (Aquila) is known through his friendship via e-mail and in the Cavern. It is in these terms that most of us think of him and honor his memory. But... I wish to recognize that he had other relationships: chiefest being is family. And my sincere and heartfelt condolences go out to all of them.

BAD:
I would just like to say a few observations about Aquila I have made this past week. I never got the chance to get to know him until he passed, and I feel that I missed out on something in URU. As I read the stories of his life, and heard the emotion of those telling the stories through their words, I understood why he was so important to this game and to the world. This showing of people was more than a love for this game or gatherings, it shows a love for a player, a person, a man who ran something for us, and never asked for anything back.

Loriendil:
I knew Aquila from the Lysts of course, and from emailing from time to time... but I knew him best from the time we spent here. We were so excited to set up the Lysters' hood and we had a blast playing in the hood -- remember playing hide and seek Aeronie? (Aeronie nods) He was a good man, selfless, with a kind heart. Thanks

Horizon:
Aquila was near single handedly responsible for keeping Myst fans together after the fall of RivenLyst. We could not have asked for a better Lyst Admin or friend. He will be greatly missed. Cheers, Aquila, wherever you are.

For myself, like BAD, I never know Aquila, and yet on reading the many heartfelt words spoken about him on the many forums, I felt deeply moved to sadness of his parting, and a wish that I had had the honor to have met with him in the forums or in the Cavern.

Eder t'shorah, Aquila.

Stellaflora

Monday, January 30, 2006

The Varied Ages of Myst

The Myst community never ceases to impress me. It occurred to me the other day while chatting with one of our newest members via Skype that the age range between the youngest and oldest members of TCT is currently about fifty years. Dalken Starbyne is fifteen, and SuperGram is -- well -- a Gram, for goodness' sake. I've spent many enjoyable hours speaking with and working with Tyion, and he's the same age as our son. There really aren't many hobbies, technology-based hobbies in particular, where the age of the participant is immaterial. "The Called" have come from many countries, many cultures, they speak many languages. We span time zones, we span years... it's amazing!

Shorah,

Mowog