Reference:RAWA/DRC forum posts

From Guild of Archivists

This page is a collection of responses that RAWA made to conversations on the now-defunct DRC forum. These are not in-cavern responses by Dr. Richard A. Watson, the lead member of the DRC. Where possible, links to the original threads are included, though some topics were not preserved by before the forums were taken down. In those cases, the text that was originally copied to the Archive is the only available copy.

D'ni word for "clock"[edit | edit source]

Posted: Wednesday May 10, 2006
Original: Unavailable

<sneaks out of the OOC forum>
<whispers, "go-rah-yan" (D'ni font: gorayån)>
<sneaks back to the OOC forum>

Esher's accent[edit | edit source]

Posted: Thursday May 18, 2006
Original: Aitrus/Atrus/A'trus

JWPlatt wrote:

Actually, I figured David Ogden Steirs was never provided a pronunciation coach, and that by the time anyone heard the tapes, he had flown back to his far away villa somewhere, maybe Australia, and the FU clause in his contract said he didn't have to redo it once the clueless studio producer signed off on it.

David Ogden Stiers (complete aside: I can never remember how to spell his last name, so I looked it up. Wikipedia has both "Steirs" and "Stiers", IMDb and the "unofficial David Ogden Stiers website" have "Stiers". So I'm going with "Stiers".) did a great job pronouncing "D'ni" correctly for Dr. Watson's audio in Uru.

When he came to do the voice for Myst V, he wanted Esher to gave a harder glottal stop. Rand was ok with Esher's pronunciation. I didn't hear it for quite a while. Rand (knowing how upset I was with the original Catherine's voice in Riven, which contributed to having all of her dialog replaced by Rengin's voice-over) didn't let me hear it right away. And before he did let me hear it, he warned me that I wouldn't like it.

Rand has his own theories for Esher's pronunciation.

I'm sticking with "speech impediment".



It being in Uru doesn't always make it real[edit | edit source]

Posted: Friday May 26, 2006
Original: Unavailable

Morningstar wrote:

I would be surprised if the Myst island we see in EoA is the one that will be included in Uru Live. We have been told many times that the island was reduced in the Myst game with respect to the "real one" for techical reasons, while in EoA the island is much like the same as in the first game (apart from the obvious effects of time). As Live is supposed to be "real", then we should get the "real", full-sized Myst.

This has come up before back in beta the first time around. Zardoz can probably find my response to show how I answered this last time. :)

Here's my answer this time:

"Artistic License" was an IC explanation for things that had to be changed in the Myst games for financial, technical, or game-play reasons. It worked very nicely, because, IC, the games were recreations of historical events.

Uru, doesn't have that luxury, as it isn't meant to be a recreation of an historical event. Uru is supposed to be happening now; you are supposed to be you; etc. But... we still have to live within those same financial, technical, and game-play limitations. So just because you see something in Uru doesn't mean that it's "real" (the way we want it to be), it just means that we can't use "artistic license" as the explanation for why it isn't the way we wish it were.

The most glaringly obvious example of this is kicking those fish traps around. Anyone who thinks that's "real" (either that's really what you would do if you were there, or that that's the way we wanted it to be), well, I don't know what to say, other than "Um, no." :)

Suffice it to say, if Myst Island shows up in Uru at some point, I would be very, very surprised if it wasn't the same size as it was shown in Myst.

Such is life.



Link between Cyan's design and DRC restoration phases[edit | edit source]

Posted: Saturday June 17, 2006
Original: Sometimes you just have to overlook things…

Gondar wrote:

I recall a posting on that.. but that was a while back, and I'm too lazy to dig.

Here's what I posted here[1] (it may help to read that thread for context).


OK. Here are what the phases mean both IC and OOC. There really isn't much difference. If you just read between the lines just a tiny bit, you’'ll see that the IC phases are nearly identical to the OOC phases each Age goes through.

Phase 1
IC: Initial Mapping - During this Phase, basic maps and documents are created for the Age or location being restored. These documents are later detailed further in phase 3. Dr. Kodama is the head DRC member in charge of this phase.

OOC: Initial Design - During this Phase, basic maps and documents are created for the Age or location being designed. This includes the design of the puzzles and story for the Age. (For an example, here's a link to one of the "Initial Design" maps for Riven: (from Robyn Miller's Blog, Feb 22, 2006 entry))

Phase 2
IC: Structural Analysis - All structures and supports are examined for integrity and safety. Dr. Kodama also heads the completion of this phase.

OOC: Massing Model - All structures are made in rough form to show their basic shapes and sizes. Little or no texture/lighting are done at this stage. Most of the wireframes at the “3D history” site mentioned earlier in this thread are massing models from Uru and/or DIRT.

Phase 3
IC: Detailed Analysis - The Age or location is given a thorough examination by a survey team, which creates extensive maps and additional documentation on the area. Dr. Sutherland is in charge of this phase.

OOC: Detailed Analysis - The Age or location (massing model) is given a through examination by the design team. We can walk around and get a "feel" for the Age and make changes while the Age is still in the early stages. Design documents are updated to reflect any changes in the Age's design.

Phase 4
IC: Restoration - This is the most extensive phase, during which all machinery is repaired, structures are secured, and cleanup is performed. Mr. Engberg is in charge of operations in this phase.

OOC: Detailed Modeling/Wiring - This is the most extensive phase. In fact, when Dr. Watson first explained the phases way back then, he said he could see this one being broken into two parts. IC, it makes sense to refer to both parts as one “restoration” phase. OOC, though, it really is two distinct phases.

Phase 4a - Detailed Modeling - Models are refined to final forms (structures are secured and cleanup is performed), textures are added, lighting is added, etc. Once phase 4a is finished, the Age will "look" complete. If you get a screen shot of something at the end of this stage, you might assume "Hey, it’s done. Why haven't they opened it yet", but there's still a lot to do - it looks great, but nothing actually works yet. (The Kahlo screenshots mentioned earlier in this thread are from Phase 4a.)

Phase 4b - Wiring - This is where everything in the Age is made to "work". Machines, elevators, doors, buttons, levers, triggers, puzzles, game-play, etc. Once phase 4b is done, hopefully everthing in the Age works as it was designed. The Age is almost ready, now. (Kahlo was in this phase when it was suspended for technical reasons. Even now, it could end up stuck in phase 4b for a looong time, but I'm “cautiously optimistic” about that, too. :)

Phase 5
IC: Limited Access - In this final phase before completion, the Age or location is opened for limited access by authorized explorers. Dr. Sutherland oversees the operations of this phase.

OOC: Testing - In this final phase before completion, the Age or location is opened for testing by Quality Control (our in-house testers). They get to hammer on it, find bugs, and send it back to the phase 4 people to make fixes as needed.

Once it's passed Phase 5 inspection, it can be opened to you all.

The phases, both IC and OOC, are not completely isolated. For example, The massing modeling of Age (Phase 2) will probably begin before Design (Phase 1) is 100% finished, so sometimes the Age is actually in two or more different Phases simultaneously, but we generally keep the listing at Phase 1 until Initial Design is complete, even if the massing model has started, then keep it listed as Phase 2 until the Massing model is complete, even if some of the Detail Analysis has started, etc.

As for the current Age list on the DRC site: It was last updated just before the DRC disbanded in 2004. It, like most of the rest of the site, is about two years out of date now. There are places that are open in D'mala that are still listed in earlier phases of restoration. If we get a contract for funding, that's on the list of things to do. Without a contract, there really isn't a point of updating it 'cause it very well could all be shut down again. (Which is the reason for... say it with me now... "Cautious optimism".)


Gondar wrote:

But, what it does imply.. are the people who do the various tasks then the players for said characters? Implying Marie Sutherland is played by one of the texture artists or something?

Then again, are they played by one dedicated person (easier to keep a cohesive personality) or a group (easier to allow them to be around any given time)

Do you really want the answers to these?



Re: Differences between RAWA and Dr. Watson[edit | edit source]

Posted: Tuesday, January 2, 2007
Original: Unavailable


Gah, I'm so confused. For years, I thought that Dr. Watson and RAWA were the same person... but various people (including Rand at Mysterium) have told me that they're actually two different people.

The confusion between me and Dr. Watson is understandable. There are many similarities between the two of us.

  • We have the same name, but Cyan is full of coincidences like that. Out of the roughly 100 people who have worked here at some point in the 14 years I’ve been here, we’ve had 2 Bills, 2 “Bret”s (Bret/Brett), 2 “Brian”s (Brian/Bryan), 2 “Brice”s (Brice/Bryce), 4 Chrises, 8 Erics, 2 Jasons, 3 Jeffs, 2 Johns, 2 Karls, 5 Marks, 4 Mike/Michaels, 2 Nate/Nathans, 2 Pauls, 2 (or 3) Richards (depending on the outcome of this debate), 2 Robs , 2 “Robin”s (Robyn/Robin), 4 Ryans, 2 Steves (3, if you want to count “Stephan” as the French version of “Steve”), 2 Terrys, 3 Tims, 2 Tonys, and 2 Victorias.)

    Sure, first _and_ last name being the same is less common, but we have that, too (2 Eric Andersons).
  • We have the same birthdays, though Dr. Watson is ten years older than I am. That isn’t unheard of here at Cyan either - Rand and Ryan Miller have the same birthday, but they are fifteen years apart.
  • Dr. Watson and I look very similar: overweight, bald, glasses, beard.

However, there are differences between the two of us.

  • Being ten years older, Dr. Watson’s hair is a little grayer, though I’m catching up faster than I’d like (let’s just blame the stress of the last two years, shall we?).
  • Dr. Watson prefers his beard very short, while I usually keep my beard quite a bit longer (see the original “Making of Myst” video, or 5 of the 6 picts of me here).
  • The sounds of our voices are very different. I think the recording of Dr. Watson in the Kirel Community Room (“To D’ni” expansion) sounds remarkably similar to “Charles Emerson Winchester the Third” from M*A*S*H, while I have a high, squeaky voice not fit for recording (as one of “The Cavern Today” podcasts from last summer clearly demonstrates).
  • Dr. Watson has a doctorate in archaeology; I do not.

QUOTE("BrettM") Has RAWA ever been down in his own right as a Cyantist? Or has only “Dr. Watson” ever been seen?

Back in Feb. 2006, when someone wrote asking about Dr. Watson, I wrote:

If I see him, I will pass that on. Unfortunately, no one has seen Dr. Watson in nearly two years, so I wouldn't expect to see him in the Cavern anytime soon.

(To make the IC/OOC thing even more confusing, I have been in "Until Uru" occasionally as "Rich" over the last two years. In order to keep the confusion to a minimum, I won’t be coming on the D'mala shard under any of the Rich/RAWA/etc. variants (though I hold out hope that Dr. Watson may return someday). That doesn't, however, mean I'm not there under other guises. ;)

Now that I re-read it, I see that I only made a commitment to try to keep the confusion on D’mala to a minimum, so I’m free to cause as much confusion as I want in Live. :P

Seriously, though, Dr. Watson has been missing for almost three years now. I still do not expect that to change anytime soon. And since there are already several threads of people expecting Dr. Watson to return to the Cavern, it’s probably best to not confuse the issue further by having Rich or RAWA show up.

That still doesn’t mean that I’m not there under other guises.


What happened to the Sci-Fi Channel's Myst miniseries[edit | edit source]

Posted: January 24, 2007
Original: RAWA signal: The Lost mini-series?

Response #1: Sometimes it's best to let sleeping dogs lie. (Which was my response last time this was brought up because that company's rights to the miniseries were about to expire and I didn't want any flares being sent their way to encourage them to extend those rights. It was better for everyone. Really.)

Response #2: Things didn't work out, and that's all I'm going to say. (Which is a perfectly reasonable response, thanks.)

Response #3: If the mangling in the comics made you cringe, the outline of the miniseries would have sent you into convulsions.

Having said all that, we're not opposed to the Myst stories being told in another format (e.g. movie, miniseries, television, comic books, DVD, View-Master reels, etc.).

But I will give a hint for anyone planning to submit an outline to develop the Myst stories for another medium: The words "Atrus and Catherine consummate their relationship" do not belong anywhere in the Book of Atrus. Believe me, that one hint alone will save us all a great deal of time.

Thank you.

Destruction is coming?[edit | edit source]

Posted: Friday March 09, 2007
Original: Unavailable

This topic is jumping off from Anna Catherine's post in another thread.

Anna Catherine wrote:

The thing is, though, that low-key Uru is very different from what the game marketing led us to expect. "Destruction is coming. Find a way. Make a home." That sounds like something pretty epic and dramatic is coming.


People are waiting because they were told to wait. They were told something is "coming." If that's true, great. If not... I suggest Cyan try to find a way to convey that to the players who are expecting it. People need to have realistic expectations... whatever that entails.

I don't think many people are really surprised to discover a disparity between "marketing" and "reality" in any setting (not just Uru), so setting one's expectations based solely (or even mainly) on marketing is very likely to be setting oneself up for disappointment. I have been trying to help people to set more realistic expectations since these forums reopened in 2005. The DRC have tried to do the same in more IC ways.

But I do understand that the subtle reminders of "reality" are easily drowned out by the bullhorn of "marketing", so let me try to be clearer.

Short answer:

The marketing line "Destruction is coming. Find a way. Make a home." is accurate, but those words by themselves give no sense of scale. That phrase is not something that is going to be fulfilled overnight. Or in a week. Or in a month. Maybe not even a year. It's a glimpse at a "bigger picture", small pieces of which are already showing up in Uru.

Long answer:

"What do you see, Atrus?"

Throughout Atrus' childhood, his grandmother Anna repeatedly reminded him to consider "The Whole", the "big picture".

Well, imagine the big picture of The D'ni Story. The story told in Myst is a single pixel in that picture. Riven is another. Uru is another. Zoom in on one of those pixels, and you find that it's not just a single pixel. It's a full picture on its own, and if you zoom in on that, you find that it is also made up of smaller pictures. (Similar to this recursive photo mosaic, only with an end at some point. Or, perhaps this movie demonstrating the powers of ten is a more applicable example.) When we're fully zoomed in, the pixels of that picture are the actions of individuals. What you do can have an effect, even if it may not be immediately apparent when you zoom back out a few levels. Over time, the accumulation of even those small effects will become more and more noticeable from greater distances.

Let's bring this analogy back to Uru. Uru's "'Whole' picture" is made up of pictures from Uru: Ages beyond Myst, Prologue, the expansion packs, and now, Myst Online, among other things. Each of those are made up of smaller pictures for, say, each of the Ages. And so on.

The majority of your time spent in Uru is at the most zoomed-in level. Your individual actions, reactions and interactions matter and have the most visible effect at this level. Examples of things at this level are things like the interactions with the DRC members, or even the recent vigil for Yeesha. Since you're zoomed in to the highest level of detail, even a single person's actions can noticeably affect the picture, gradually changing the color of one pixel at a time, to extend the picture/pixel analog a bit. Events on this level of detail might only last a few minutes or days. Taken individually they may not seem like much, but some may have consequences that last long into the future. Collectively they eventually do have an impact on the bigger picture.

In the middle scales are things like the Ages. They are less flexible and require more effort to have a noticeable effect. At this level, there may be opportunities for the interactions of groups of players to gradually change the colors of the pixels of the picture over longer periods of time. We didn't really get to see many of these in Uru in 2004, but the hypothetical example that has been used several times before is the lighting of the lake: a gradual process that would take weeks or months to accomplish that has a fairly noticeable effect on an Age.

Zoomed out to one of the larger scales are pictures that are revealed over longer periods of time. Things at this scale are the most resistant to change. Player interaction may be able to slightly change the shade of a few of the pixels a bit, but for the most part, the picture when viewed from this scale may not change much at all. An example I've used before of one of the bigger pictures planned for 2004 was going to be the gradual revelation of the Bahro. Imagine everything that you learned about the Bahro in Myst V being gradually discovered over the course of at least a year rather than over the very short period of time covered in Myst V. A little glimpse at some point that they are able to link at will. Weeks later something in another Age demonstrating that they can affect the weather of the Age. Sometime later in another Age a clue about their fear of the snakes of Noloben. And on and on, so that the picture of the Bahro is slowly filled in as time passes.

"Destruction is coming. Find a way. Make a home." is a "big picture" kind of thing. Right now, that picture is mostly obscured for you. But that picture, too, is gradually being filled in over time, and if you view that picture as a jigsaw puzzle, you've already been given a few pieces.

So… all that explanation to get to a point where we can better set realistic expectations.

You can expect new opportunities to make an impact on the most zoomed-in scale to become available all of the time. Most of them will be simple interactions that you have with other players. Some will be interactions with the DRC, new Ages as they are opened, etc.

At the next level out are things like calibrating the Great Zero or lighting the lake. You can expect new opportunities for you to have a direct effect at this level come less frequently, though as explained earlier, you have an indirect effect at this level all the time through the accumulation of the effects you're having at lower levels.

Further out, with things like "Destruction is coming. Find a way. Make a home.", you can expect new opportunities to have major impact at this level to be very rare, but you can expect your understanding of these "bigger pictures" to be gradually filled in over time.

Big things are coming, but that doesn't mean you have nothing to do but wait in the meantime. Medium things are coming more often, and smaller things are coming all of the time. Some of them will be things that interest you. Some will not. Find the things that you like and do something with them while you're waiting for bigger things.

Hope that helps.


Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. This topic is not available on