Reference:Uru IRC chat with Bill Slease, December 2003
The following chat took place in the #Uru IRC channel in December 16, 2003. The transcript has been limited to questions asked by the community and answers from Bill Slease, Uru Live content director at Cyan.
Devokan: How is it going with Uru?
Bill Slease: Uru's going as well as we could hope. We're Ubi's #1 PC Game...Amazon is sold out...reviews have been phenomenal - PC Gamer gave us Editors Choice!
Cuirinus: Do you think Uru will still get new contents in 3 and 5 years from now?
Bill Slease: Uru Live will continue to get new content as long as it (Uru Live) exists...which is hopefully for as long or longer than you mention :)
Devokan: What is the most frustrating problem with Uru so far?
Bill Slease: The most frustrating problem with Uru Live right now is the little amount of sleep it provides us.
Devokan: Do you ever go into Uru and talk to people? If so, when on average?
Bill Slease: I do go into Uru Live quite often. Sometimes as myself (CyanBill), sometimes incongnito and sometimes acting as one of the live characters. All of us try to vary the times we go in so that we can cover as big a cross section of explorers as possible
Starfyre72: Will the launch of Uru Live be ready as planned? What date are you expecting to launch?
Bill Slease: The Uru Live launch (the open public free period) is on schedule for early 2004.
Milsabord: How many people have access to Uru Live at this time?
Bill Slease: The total number of people with access to Uru Live right now isn't something we're supposed to reveal. But I can tell you, as of today, we have about twice as many invited as there were in the beta.
Milsabord: When does the game begin and the prologue end?
Bill Slease: The prologue ends when we open Uru Live up to anyone who wants to play, which is still on schedule for early 2004.
Tanernin: Is there a way to contact characters outside of Uru, such as interviewing DRC members or Douglas Sharper?
Bill Slease: The best ways to reach the DRC members is in the Cavern or on the drcsite.org forums.
Milsabord: Can we imagine to find old ages from Riven, Exile, ... in Uru Live?
Bill Slease: That's a good question Milsabord...you never know what the dilligent explorer might come across in the cavern :)
HiddenOne: How well is the game "scaling" and will it correct some of the "lag" issues?
Bill Slease: Aside from pure stability, improving 'lag' in the city and other public areas is one of our primary focuses now. Aside from the lag, the server architecture is scaling very well. Better than we'd anticipated meaning a single shard might be able to support quite a few more players than we expected.
Duskrin_Dtahree: Will there be a chance to help the DRC more in the future on projects concerning the restoration plotline?
Bill Slease: Yes. There will be ways for explorers to directly participate in a particular project "soon".
Nahvah: Will we ever be able to copy&paste from our KIs to other applications like Word?
Bill Slease: Copy & paste...interesting - that's actually a new one to me. So that tells you it's not in our immediate plans...
Devokan: So Phil is not just one person playing him...but multiple people?
Bill Slease: I can't speak to Phil's mental state...but Phil is Phil.
Cycreim: How much influence do the players have over what happens in the general storyline?
Bill Slease: The players have a very big impact on the story line that's going on right now. For instance... Some characters are taking on much more pivotal roles than maybe we had planned as a direct result of player interaction.
mszv: Any plans to give our avatars more abilities - using our hands and arms, or, more importantly - swimming?
Bill Slease: More abilities are planned. I've seen some working. :)
Deg: How much of your time is spent on developing new content versus roleplaying and continuing the story?
Bill Slease: My personal day is fairly evenly split between the two.
Jerle: Will the people who weren't in Prologue miss out on major storylines?
Bill Slease: Depends on your definition of 'major' and 'miss'...ha...er, it'd be like not watching the first airing of a TV episode I guess. Yeah you didn't see it right when it happened, but you can still get and research the story and it will add to yur appreciation of future plots.
(many people): Any update on the status of a Mac version of Uru?
Bill Slease: No change. Same status. Want to, need resources.
Aquila: How close are you to filling the first shard in live?
Bill Slease: Let's see, what time is it? Very close.
Aloys: How was the christmas party at Cyan?
Bill Slease: The Christmas party was fun...they always are. I think it's the first time I saw Rand not in jeans.
Mysto: Will it be possible to build our own Ages?
Bill Slease: Anyone willing to sit as an apprentice under a master writer for oh say 50 years, is welcome to submit an Age. Of course, they'll need to supply their own ink and paper.
Mysto: What is the maximum of neighourhood? (And is there a limit to the number of members in a single hood?)
Bill Slease: I'm not aware of a hardcoded limit on the number of neighborhoods per server. Theoretically it should always be less than the number of palyers. Theoretically. There's also no hardcoded limit on the number of members per neighborhood.
Deg: When will we be able to send KI image to other explorers?
Bill Slease: Also "soon" We want to be able to watch the impact of that feature closely when we enable it.
Aloys: Many old screenshots we saw are not in the game right now (great shaft, red tree) any plans to see that in game some time?
Bill Slease: You never know what the diligent explorer might come across in the cavern ;)
GermanShepherd: Are two players able to see each other if they are on different server "shards"?
Bill Slease: No. Unfortunately the raison d'etre of shards is to make it so as to not be able to do that. I hope that was clear.
Dusante: Any plans for a music related puzzle? We haven't seen anything like that since Selenetic in Myst.
Bill Slease: You never know what a diligent explorer might come across in the cavern...or other Ages for that matter. (I have seen some music puzzles in some Age design docs that may or may not happen as planned)
mszv: The problem with characters being roleplayed by players is that not everyone gets to see them, unlike Yeesha which we all got to see, or the puzzles, which we all get to solve. Care to comment?
Bill Slease: I agree. And the challenge will only increase as more explorers come and shards open. This doesn't mean it's not a valuable part of the live experience...but you can expect to see more of the Yeesha type stuff in the future as well.
maztec: Any new news on projected monthly cost (of Uru Live)?
Bill Slease: It will be competitively priced. $10-$15 is the current average subscrition rate.
Andrew: Are players going to be limited to one character per account, or will be able to create a separate character on another server?
Bill Slease: You will have more than one character per account. You will not be limited to playing on only one server.
i-am-ron: Is the Uru story planned out from beginning to end, or will it be developped as time passes?
Bill Slease: Well...we hope "the end" is far away. We do have cycles and story arcs (episodic and multi-episodic)...
linkerjpatrick: What TV show would you compare Uru to? Is 24 a good comparison?
Bill Slease: It's like X-Files meets Who's Line is it Anyway with a little Days of Our Lives thrown in.
Dusante: A long time ago back in the MUDPIE days there was talk of other games and activities you could do in Uru, like racing and interaction with animals. So besides ahyoheek, what other games and activites are you planning on making available?
Bill Slease: Afraid I can't answer that specifically but I can tell you that you'll see some new content along the lines of which you speak before you have to pay any more money to play :)
Reddy79: I would like to know if Uru Live will be able to expand the offline single player experience somehow (downloadable content, etc.). You won't be forced to choose a side, but you might find not choosing has as many or more ramifications as choosing.
Bill Slease: That's a possibility under consideration.
Aloys: We have seen Zandi at the start of Uru, but we haven't heard much of him since. Any idea has to what activities he'll be involved in in the future? (if any)
Bill Slease: Zandi's hands are quite full at the moment sending out all those invitations.
Kha'tie: Now that Uru is on the shelves but Uru Live is always "in production" do you feel like you've had a chance to enjoy the success you would normally feel after finishing a game?
Bill Slease: Not really... The crunch is dead. Long live the crunch.
Dusante: How does lag work? What exactly causes it?
Bill Slease: Oh my. There's all kinds and causes... network, processor, disk stream, memory (video/audio)... It's always a trick to figure out which of the many faces of lag people are talking about. The current frustration getting the most air time on the forums looks like the pause you experience in a public area any time someone links in. We're working on that :)
Kha'tie: Now that the crunch is dead and Uru Lives, are you able to enjoy yourself in D'ni? I've seen Rand in the city, but I've only seen you there once, Bill. Are you able to come and visit?
Bill Slease: Yes I go in but usually incognito - it makes it easier to get honest opinions.
Kha'tie: Bill, thank you SO much for spending this hour with us all, answering our questions and sharing some glimpses into what we all know will be the next greatest online adventure! We really hope that you get to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labours, and that we can see you in D'ni someday, soon! :)
Bill Slease: Those were great questions. Thanks everyone.