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pidgin-cyanchat v1.0

Today I’ve finally gotten the plugin to a point where I’m fairly happy with the result. It works well in Pidgin, it also works well over SSH with Finch. Chatting, PM’ing, and logging in and out are all fully supported (as far as I can tell).

The biggest issue in getting it done was the userlist handling. My original concept was “Cho sends us a userlist, we clear the chat users and fill it in again”. It worked well enough in Pidgin. In Finch however, the entire userlist was sent to the chat every time that it was updated. Considering that one person logging on generates two userlist refreshes, it got pretty annoying and made conversation difficult.
My new concept used a diff method, and also tried to guess when users changed their names. CyanChat doesn’t have an actual rename command, so it displays it as a new link in… The headaches and random bugs that came along with guessing at renaming users were quite fun, and quite annoying to debug. With Nadnerb’s help, I finally found a better method of handling renames and implemented it.

So, currently there is a source build, and a build for Ubuntu i386. I’m working on getting a good method to cross compile for Windows and x64.

pidgin-cyanchat homepage

Oh, did I mention that Pidgin 2.5.0 is out? Finally got some good MSN support (albeit somewhat buggy and crash-prone) :P

Regarding MORE…

So, aren’t we all just dying with excitement for MOAR MORE?

No, we aren’t. Not really. Or, at least I’m not.

The Storyline

The storyline of Uru has changed far beyond what Cyan originally intended. What started as a single-player game exploring the tunnels to D’ni (DIRT), had evolved into an archaeological expedition where we were along for the ride in a multi-player environment (pre-Prologue). Does anyone remember the excitement of watching archaeological reports being posted on the DRC forums? It still held a believability. An archaeological expedition to an underground cavern makes sense, and linking books could still be fudged with advanced physics.

The storyline was going great until Prologue shut down. To D’ni and PotS quickly tried to tie up lose endings, without really succeeding, and changed the original storyline drastically. To make matters worse, Myst V took storyline that hadn’t even started yet, and twisted it into a new storyline for Yeesha and Esher.

Can we blame Cyan for this? Not really. After Prologue they likely had no hope of getting Uru back online to continue the storyline, so it made sense to release the nearly-finished Ages as expansion packs and try to tie off lose endings.

D’mala should have seen that there was no hope of picking up the storyline where it left off, Untìl Uru had no official storyline, and no consistent storyline across shards. The storyline was run entirely by fans who – using the Vault tools, AdminKI, and a few cooperating players – could make any storyline they wanted. Picking up where the story left off was like trying to take an unravelled sweater and force it back into shape.

MOUL picked up from D’mala, and the storyline was bearable. The inconsistencies from Untìl Uru were there, but not blatantly obvious to most people. Then there came episodes, and everything went downhill.
You cannot run a persistent multiplayer environment with a realism component using episodic content. We all hope Cyan has learnt that lesson (even though we know that they haven’t learnt a thing).
Episodes quickly cleared the cavern for 3 weeks per month, leaving one week of cramped storyline filled with player drama and less and less Cyan involvement. The storyline itself reached new levels of absurdity and the nonsensical. Flying creatures trying to kill us, who can link at will, and are at war with themselves? Seriously, a Disney movie has better coherency.

The best solution is to start from the beginning. Possibly even before Prologue, before UbiSoft forced a single-player game, before there were multiple Bahro doors… I’d like to see what Cyan intended from the beginning. This poses issues for the Guilds, especially the Guild of Writers, but there is likely a fairly easy way to make it acceptable. The DRC offering classes in the Art? Yeesha offering us her knowledge and skill?

Content

Has anyone here played Crowthistle (aside from RIUM…)? The two worlds presented there were made very quickly by Cyan’s limited staff at the same time as Myst V. The unfortunate part is that they look much better than any of the new Ages in MOUL. K’veer and Ahnonay were the only Ages that came close to rivalling them, and both were built back in the Prologue days, with minor updates for MOUL.

People ask me what my favourite Uru Age is, and I answer truthfully: “Ahra Pahts”.

The tools

Best part about MORE is that we’ll finally get Cyan’s Plasma toolset. Yeah, that’s right… Cyan’s going to give us their 3DS Max plugin, and some of the source code.

It’s as easy as taking some binaries, putting them in a zip file, and distributing them. The source is as easy as taking a few more files, zipping them up, and passing them around.

So why is it such an difficult task for Cyan? Wouldn’t they rather get the tools out now and have content ready for when MORE is released? Is it so impossibly difficult that Cyan isn’t able to complete the simple task of zipping up some files?

Plasma toolset: I’ll believe it when I see it.

Cyan Worlds, Inc.

CyanTest

Yes… Cyan Worlds barely exists anymore. They have reduced staff to only a few Quality Assurance members who are now working at testing games for other companies. Don’t believe me?
CyanTestCyan Worlds
Compare the two addresses listed on the contact pages.

So what are our favourite Cyantists doing now?
Rand and Tony are still in Spokane working out the legal details and the concepts for MORE.
MarkD (Chogon) is now living in northern Washington, in an increasingly desert-like and dry area.
Richard (RAWA) and Lloyd (lbell) are working in the QA area.
Ryan (GreyDragon) is no longer working with Cyan.

Artists? Programmers? As far as I can tell, there are none left.

Which begs the question? Who is going to be programming the MORE server code? Who is going to make sure that the servers are up and running properly?

The closer you look, the less likely MORE is. I’ll believe it when I see it.