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 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!



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!



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:

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.

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.

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

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.