Jump to content

Home

Latest Uru preview: the skinny on the gamplay


Recommended Posts

e3teledahns.jpg

 

Die-hard Myst fans will be able to play in a first-person mode, but even the dedicated Myst players on the testing staff ultimately decided that they prefer third-person mode. Third-person views allow the design team to create cinematic effects and events by manipulating the camera, and your avatar lends a sense of perspective and size to the scenery.

 

....Of course, with the third-person perspective come puzzles of a new sort (for the Myst series) – physical puzzles. Solving certain dilemmas or exploring particular ages may require simple activities like jumping over, pushing or pulling objects. Some of these activities will have to be completed within a time limit. Cyan Worlds knows their audience, so while there will be physical puzzles, they are taking care to make sure that these challenges are not twitchy and can be surmounted by players of all skill levels, including those of us who are old and slow.

 

....The offline game will provide background and context for the online experience, but only Uru Online will allow you meet up with other gamers in the ruined D’ni city where the DRC is rebuilding the ancient ruins. The social aspect is the big draw for persistent world games, so the development team wants to make sure that your social experience is a good one. They are trying to avoid artificial, “pub”-like environments, but the city is huge and full of public spaces where you can meet other players. As you meet other players, you can create a neighborhood, or join a neighborhood. The neighborhood serves a function similar to that of guilds in other games – it creates a space where you can meet with friendly folks. It may also contain activities itself, such as mini-games you can play with other denizens. Neighborhoods may even serve as the basis for communal activities, such as a massive D’ni device that needs regular calibration. Calibration then becomes a group activity, and that service to the community can be tracked on a neighborhood level, encouraging group participation.

 

....Visitors to your dwelling are by invitation only, and even ages that you might visit in Uru Online are private and will only be visited by people you invite or are invited by. If you aren’t feeling friendly, you’ll be able to play Uru Online as if it were a single-player game with installment content. You could create a neighborhood solely for yourself, and even ages that may have group activities could be explored alone to unearth more elements of the ongoing story. That said, they are trying to encourage social behavior by adding some puzzles that may require you to get the aid of other players. Ages might even be competitive in nature – one such age might include “fugitive” elements in which one player is trying to trigger a series of events while avoiding the pursuit of another group of players.

 

Full preview, Frictionless Insight, 8/26/03

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Crunchy in milk

may, may, might, may, might...

 

I thought this game was nearly finished, talk about vague.

 

What are these 'pub' environments they're trying to avoid? Are they afraid of a 2 drink minimum or something?

 

Oh, please :rolleyes: . This is the most detailed information we've been given about the gameplay so far. And the game launches in November, online beta testing begins soon. See, that's why I post these things, Crunchzilla, for people like you. :D

 

Oh, and did you really think they'd give the game a 'M' Mature rating? That explains the absence of pubs - if I ever caught my 13-year-old son drinking pints and talking politics online I'd smack him upside his noggin and shove the game cd down his throat. :mad:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lol- go Trep! :D

 

The Age versus Age aspect sounds quite intriguing to me-- imagine puzzling away, team versus team, instead of the usual killing of other online genres... Hmm. That would be quite tricky, though, to make really interesting puzzles that require group involvement. Even without the Age versus Age element, how do you make it interesting? Do you add random seismic events to an Age that have to be circumvented in time or dealt with in real-time before mass destruction occurs? There must be *some* progress in the online puzzles, though, or else how could they begin beta testing in the first place?

 

I can see them not giving too much away yet, though, as to avoid spoilers. What fun would it be solving puzzles if you already knew what was coming three months in advance?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Skinny Minnie

Lol- go Trep! :D

What fun would it be solving puzzles if you already knew what was coming three months in advance?

 

= the major reason this is going to be a hard sell. If it requires a subscription fee, even more so. It'll be harder to avoid spoilers than solve the actual puzzles. How do you attract new players months after release? How will long time players mix with newer players?

 

New content is the lifeblood of online games, and adding content for Uru is going to be that much harder than it is for rpgs like Everquest or Lineage where new content is just some re-coloured monster and a new cave or 3 to walk through. Where the focus is on character development (and boringly limited to it in a lot of cases... I'm looking in diablo's direction).

 

Uru could push the boundaries of online content but with it comes a lot of obstacles I have no idea how they'll avoid or deal with.

 

 

The avatar is Bad Bob from the Aardman animation series 'Rex the Runt'. Great show.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It will no doubt be a hard sell.

1)Not having a hard-fast ruleset, people are going to wonder what they're supposed to do in the game.

2)Ubi/Cyan is going to have to try damned hard to keep the game from looking like a glorified chat room. For example, they're going to need to make it easy for people to walk and talk, else they'll just congregate in large, motionless circles.

3)Other stuff. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

05.jpg

Remember, this game is entirely in real time 3D.

 

Gamespy preview and obscenely gorgeous screenshots, emphasizing the online aspects:

 

"We don't think people will want to explore with thousands of people," explains Miller. "Instead, players can choose who accompanies them, thus freeing themselves from companions they might not like." One of the things that Miller is determined to avoid is crowds. Uru's online component isn't meant to turn the fantastical universe of MYST into an online amusement park. Rather, the experience is designed to be a continuous adventure for small groups of people who will always have new places to go and new things to see. Indeed, according to Miller, players will never find that they've seen or done it all. "We think that providing ongoing content is how people are entertained."

 

....players will be able to see and design an onscreen avatar -- even if they just plan on staying in the single-player world. This avatar is necessary because this time around players will explore the world of MYST in the third-person (a first-person option is under consideration, but the team feels that a third-person view is the way Uru is meant to be experienced). This departure is, perhaps, one of the biggest (but not the only) adjustments that fans will have to make. It is one that Miller and team are confident in, however. "It gives a sense of things around you," he emphasizes, "and it also provides a sense of scale."

 

....players can expect the addition of some physical puzzles where you have to move objects or complete tasks in a certain amount of time. Miller emphasized that gamers shouldn't expect any console-style platform jumps or reflex tests; rather, this was being done to create more complex puzzles in which players do more than just move levers or adjust dials.

 

....[a] linking book and the New Mexico location will serve as the hub that allows you to access various worlds -- and even a slightly The Sims-like experience. At the beginning, the hub will be a very sparse Southwestern house with an equally sparse yard. Journeying to other worlds and ages will let players bring items back and leave them in the house and yard to showcase where they've been and what they've accomplished.

 

More importantly, your house will have a library that begins with a modest shelf and virtually no reading material. As players head to different ages and solve various puzzles, they'll get new linking books that can be placed on those shelves. When they head online, the number of books that can be found grows even greater. Even better, as in the game's fiction, once a player secures a book, the age becomes "theirs," and is semi-customizable by the person who claims it -- simply by altering the details in their linking book!

 

In keeping with the non-competitive nature of the game, however, players won't have to race around securing the "good" ages for themselves. Multiple players will have linking books to the same age, but the age visited will be the customized version of that linking book's owner. Thus, a group of friends could have different experiences exploring the same age, just using different people's books. In a way, Uru could really be described as the first "massively single-player game."

 

The biggest difference from the original MYST, though, is that this latest game isn't pushing system requirements at all. Fans of the original can expect the same kind of exquisitely detailed locations, along with a variety of puzzles, and a very manageable interface. Even with all this eye candy, though, and the use of third-person characters, Uru doesn't have the kinds of visual effects that require the latest and greatest hardware. Indeed, since there are no action elements, and their accompanying destructive effects, the developers have been able to do much more with much less. It means that Miller and his crew can design a game that looks great, runs smoothly, and is still totally accessible by the masses.

 

Full preview

 

*underline highlights mine

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by twifkak

It will no doubt be a hard sell.

1)Not having a hard-fast ruleset, people are going to wonder what they're supposed to do in the game.

2)Ubi/Cyan is going to have to try damned hard to keep the game from looking like a glorified chat room. For example, they're going to need to make it easy for people to walk and talk, else they'll just congregate in large, motionless circles.

3)Other stuff. :)

 

1) Only the lamers who are used to the QuakeIII or Everquest mindset will wonder what to do.

2) According to Miller, you will be able to explore with others by invitation only. That'll filter out trolls and uninteresting types. For example, I could invite emma, ragou, and bigjko to explore with me in my Age (server) and we could do whatever we want. Each age is ripe with possibilities (and new content occassionally), and we can solve puzzles and collect souvenirs to show off in our respective little houses. Leisurely exploration is the essence here. Remember, we're not levelling up or collecting weapons and loot and killing anything. There is adventure, but you have to set out to find it.

3) Read the preview above. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Of course you're invited, tabsie! After all, we can never have enough eye candy ;) . Anyone else wanna come?

 

Here's the deal: For all of you who'll purchase Uru when it comes out (after reading the reviews, of course), why don't we all have an official Adventure Gamers party in one of the Ages? :eek: Wouldn't that be the ultimate? It'll be by invitation, so that only AG members can attend. Schweeeeett!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1) Only the lamers who are used to the QuakeIII or Everquest mindset will wonder what to do.

Well, yes, but there are a lot of them. They kind of make up a major portion of the market. :)

2) According to Miller, you will be able to explore with others by invitation only. That'll filter out trolls and uninteresting types. For example, I could invite emma, ragou, and bigjko, and especially not twifkak, the bum, to explore with me in my Age (server) and we could do whatever we want. ... There is adventure, but you have to set out to find it.

Well, those are good points. They don't address my point, though, which was the walk-and-talk thing. I guess I could counter my own point by saying that voice chat will make it possible.

3) Read the preview above. :)

I did. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by twifkak

1) Only the lamers who are used to the QuakeIII or Everquest mindset will wonder what to do.

Well, yes, but there are a lot of them. They kind of make up a major portion of the market. :)

 

A major portion of the hardcore gaming market, which means a proportionately less major percentage of the overall software market. Remember, the fact that there will be absolutely no direct player vs. player competition, violence, combat, or dying in Uru - features typically found and exploited in most RPGs and FPSs - should act to filter out many hardcore online gamers who thrive on such. That and the Myst pedigree (i.e., 'boring, mechanical puzzles, no action, no big t!tty females, no prostitutes to murder'). If Cyan and UbiSoft play their marketing cards right they can snag the same mainstream market who fell in love with The Sims and then some. These are the people who game, what, an hour or two each day, to relax? The single player campaign could satisfy them, but a taste of the online experience could very well win them over and show them there's more beyond Solitaire and Minesweeper. Of course, much of the core audience will be diehard Myst and adventure game fans ("Look, Tootsie! Finally, an online game where we don't have to play as orcs or space marines and kill everything in sight!").

 

They could also market Uru particularly towards women and older gamers, emphasizing the storyline, exploration, and social amenities of the online experience. Especially to women, who historically have been largely ignored by the industry but represent a very fertile untapped market.

 

I have to yet to see how they're gonna market Uru, let alone if they're gonna market it aggressively and intelligently at all. You know how sh!t awful the games industry is at pitching their wares to the mass market. shrug03.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Homoludens

Of course you're invited, tabsie! After all, we can never have enough eye candy ;) . Anyone else wanna come?

 

Here's the deal: For all of you who'll purchase Uru when it comes out (after reading the reviews, of course), why don't we all have an official Adventure Gamers party in one of the Ages? :eek: Wouldn't that be the ultimate? It'll be by invitation, so that only AG members can attend. Schweeeeett!

 

 

If my PC will run it and I can get out of my financial debt by the time it's released, I'm in :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Homoludens

Remember, the fact that there will be absolutely no direct player vs. player competition, violence, combat, or dying in Uru - features typically found and exploited in most RPGs and FPSs - should act to filter out many hardcore online gamers who thrive on such.[/img]

 

Now, the world don't move to the beat of just one drum,

What might be right for you, may not be right for some.

A man is born, he's a man of means.

Then along come two, they got nothing but their jeans.

 

But they got, Diff'rent Strokes. It takes,

Diff'rent Strokes. It takes,

Diff'rent Strokes to move the world.

 

Everybody's got a special kind of story

Everybody finds a way to shine,

It don't matter that you got,

not alot,

So what,

They'll have theirs, and you'll have yours,

and I'll have mine.

And together we'll be fine....

 

Because it takes, Diff'rent Strokes to move the world.

Yes it does.

It takes, Diff'rent Strokes to move the world.

 

The news of little houses with bookcases seems to address the 'hey girls drop that Sims expansion pack and come over here!' issue. But seriously...

 

Competition (and playing with doll houses) is part of life, Uru would be mad to avoid using competition as a point of interest, even if they try to avoid it, it'll happen anyway.

 

I know women who enjoy violent fps games, and mindless hack and slash 'rpgs', its a bit silly to claim the mere lack of those elements will make it more enticing to women. Certainly marketing and character design are things that need to be worked on though, I'm in agreement with you there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, granted I've never tried voice-chatting in games, but me and mate of mine in the USA, whom I know only by IRC, were fooling around with voice-chatting. It went something like this.

 

"Hey, how're you?"

"Good. Hey, you don't sound Icelandic..you speak good english!"

"Cool. Thanks!"

"Yep.."

"Aha.."

"..."

"..."

*writes in chat: "Wow, the awkward level rose to about 3000."*

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...