D’ni in RealTime

(This is a response in the same lines at Tweek’s brilliance over here.)

Both Tweek and Alahmnat make a lot of good points on their blogs, and I have a few ideas of my own that I thought I’d share.

Starting out

I agree that the Cleft is an idea starting place, it has history and is a setting on the surface, making it reasonable. I think that the Cleft itself should remain, even if just to show a glimpse of that history through journals, notes, and items left behind by Ti’ana, Gehn, Atrus, and Yeesha. Zandi (or someone) should be around to greet people and direct them to the caldera of the volcano. Once there, the player would commence the journey down the tunnels to D’ni.

The tunnels & Shaft

The trip down the Great Shaft itself would be quite quick, but with many interesting stops. The Eder Tomahn could serve a similar purpose to the one that they served in Myst V, having Nexus links to other Ages, and most importantly the KI machine. The initial KI would have simple chat features, being the very basic of KI types. Most importantly, the Cleft and tunnels to D’ni would be multi-player. Once at the bottom of the Shaft, there would be some sort of way to get directly to D’ni. Possibly a Linking book that takes you to the Neighbourhoods, possibly not. I do like the idea of walking all the way to D’ni, but many people would give up at that point. One possibility is that some basic forms of teamwork are required to get into D’ni, something as simple (or complicated) as filling a gap in the path with fallen debris. One of the original videos of DIRT shows an avatar running across a bridge and the bridge collapsing behind him. Although that sense of danger would be great, in a multiplayer environment it cannot in any way impede the progress of others.

The ‘hoods

The Neighbourhoods as I envision them are less like actual living spaces, and more as meeting spaces. In theory there could be an infinite number of personal areas behind the cavern walls, but I don’t think that many people really want a living space in-game. That said, there would be a limited number of hoods. Currently there are 3 (Bevin, Kirel, and Seret). I think that 5 would be good to provide meeting spaces. The goal isn’t to form a lot of separate groups, but to have various areas to interact with other players. Each hood would have a garden Eder Age. Right now there are 4 (Kemo, Gira, Delin, and Tsogal), but I would almost consider Jalak to be a garden. The important thing is that Gardens would not have puzzles. They’d just be cool places to hang out and explore.

Ae’gura, the city

Ae’gura is really the climax of D’ni. It’s the giant island in the center of the lake, a district with its own unique buildings and history. What saddens me most about the current state of Uru is that all of those buildings will forever remain empty. Ae’gura would contain the museum (with Negilahn, Dereno, Payiferen, Tetsonot, and Todelmer), as well as the library. The library would provide links to a variety of Ages, ones like Teledahn, Noloben, and Minkata. The Nexus links on Ae’gura would be severely cut back, likely only a single one at the end of Tokotah alley. The Guild Hall would be open, with links to the Guild Pubs. The Ferry Terminal would actually have ferries to take you to other districts, K’veer, and other islands.

Other districts

Districts like the city proper, the J’Taeri district and others as mentioned in the Book of D’ni could contain links to many more Ages and more histories, such as diaries from D’ni citizens before the Fall (what? We have linguists for a reason!). Ages like Er’cana and Ahnonay could remain in the Watcher’s Pub (which is in J’Taeri). Nexus links would also be around to prevent unnecessary time in transport.

Instancing

So far I’ve avoided the issue by making everything public, but people will want to have the chance to explore on their own without others. Age links in the Nexus would accommodate this, allowing for private Ages and invitations.

Storyline

What storyline? That’s right, there is nothing pushing the story forward, nothing to hold it back. Ideally some force would be around to open new areas and Ages, but almost all of the storyline would be player-driven. That’s one fear that people are going to have to get over. Uru can’t live without player storylines.

The Guilds

The Guild of Writers could make Ages themselves and release them through a special library, a special Nexus, or a variety of other ways. Othe guilds could perform their functions equally as well (perhaps not the messengers in the beginning, but once a good community developed, then podcasts and news stories would come up).

The best of all, no Bahro, no Yeesha magic, no unbelievable circumstances that can’t have a pseudo-scientific backing.

Hard Drive Hell (III)

Yep, it hasn’t stopped yet. *headbangdesk*

So I’ve run this recovery program more times than I care to count. It lists the existing files properly so I’ve managed to grab quite a few of them, but chkdsk destroyed some files and marked them deleted. The program apparently has an issue with deleted files and crashes long before it gets around to listing them so that I can select them to restore.

Also, my partition table has vanished, all Operating Systems now say that the drive is entirely blank and unformatted.

I created a new NTFS partition on my main disc as a place to drop all of the restored data. Vista borked my partition order and grub wouldn’t let me boot anything until I manually fixed it.

I’ll be updating this post rather than posting more, since I’m hoping to have this issue solved ASAP.

Hard Drive Hell (Part II)

Follow-up to previous post.

So I bought a new enclosure. Connected everything. Ubuntu tells me that all of my partitions have some form of error. Not completely unexpected I suppose. So I boot into Vista and start trying to restore things using “Stellar Phoenix Fat & Ntfs 2.1 Incl Crk” (Thanks Chris!). I managed to restore my FAT32 partition containing all of my photos with very few problems.

The ext3 partition with all of my music is being a bit more difficult. It seems that the superblock stuff got corrupt somewhere, and the journal is entirely dead. I tried forcing a mount as ext2 (to ignore the journal), but that was no luck either. Then I made a stupid mistake, I used dd to try copying the data to another blank partition. Or, what I thought was a blank partition. Apparently sda3 is really my second partition, and sda2 is my blank one. So as dd runs happily, nautilus crashes, my programs die, and Ubuntu gives me a warning that my partition is filling up with corrupt data. Wonderful.

I gave up trying to remove the corrupt data, tossed in a LiveCD and just formatted my Ubuntu partition. This is why I have an external hard drive in the first place, so that nothing horribly important ends up on my OS partitions. Now I just have to hack my video card drivers and GNOME themes again.

So I boot back into Windows to see if I can restore my NTFS partition with all of my Uru stuff on it. Running Stellar Phoenix was great… and then just before I get the option to restore files, Vista gives me a Blue Screen of Death. Apparently ntfs.sys detected corruption. Well, y’know, that corruption is exactly what I was trying to fix before you crashed. >.<

So I’m currently running chkdsk /r on my NTFS partition to see if I can fix NTFS errors before restoring files (and hopefully remove the need to restore them at all).

The ext3 music partition I’m not horribly worried about, I have most of the music between two iPods and I should be able to drag it back onto a new partition if necessary.

Hard Drive Hell

Okay, so a story for everyone, and a bit of a plea for help ;)

I was using Vista, explorer.exe was freezing at a tremendous rate, to the point that the OS wasn’t usable. So I hit the power button and rebooted into Ubuntu. Vista (or Windows in general) has this thing where it “locks” the hard drives, and if it isn’t shut down properly, these locks remain. So in Ubuntu I tried to force mount my external hard drive. The mount process seemed to just hang. I gave up and tried rebooting Vista in order to remove the locks. Vista randomly tells me that all three of the partitions on that drive need to be formatted. I shut down (properly this time) and booted Ubuntu again. Ubuntu will not acknowledge the drive’s existence. There is no /dev/sdb as far as Linux is concerned.

I’ve been told that the drive firmware might be shot, but from what I can see, it looks like an issue of conflicting locks on the drive.

Anyone have any ideas?

That time of year again…

So, course planning and selection for next year happened yesterday. Don’t ask how it went, last year was a delightful experience compared to this year.

There was a big protest about local school changes on Tuesday, I walked down during 4th block, but by then everyone had gone home. (Yay… I get to walk, then turn around and come back). I’ve started a letter campaign myself, hopefully we’ll at least make it clear that students need to be consulted before someone decides to change how the schools run.