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Covering the new Extended Universe

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#1 Alahmnat


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Posted 21 August 2008 - 04:13 PM

Blade originally brought this to my attention a couple of weeks ago, and as a result of Robert the Rebuilder's post in the requests forum, I've decided now is as good a time as any to get started on figuring out how putting user-created content into the Archive is going to work. What follows is my proposal, which I'm posting here for feedback and suggestions. It won't be enacted or enforced until there's been some level of consensus on it, so please, if you've got anything to contribute, now is the time to speak your mind.

First and foremost, I don't want to treat UCC as a second-class citizen here. There won't be a separate section of the Archive where all of the UCC articles will be shelved; UCC Ages will be tagged as Ages, stories run in the Cavern will be cataloged as part of the Timeline/History Project, etc. However, for the sake of clarity, both Cyan content and UCC content (what might be termed "extended universe" material in the context of Star Wars' IP) needs to be identified in the Archive so that it can be easily searched for and explored.

To that end, I'd like to propose that a new base tag category be created titled "Canon", within which would be the child tags of "Official Canon", "Extended Universe", "Redacted", and "Apocrypha" (Apocrypha would be moved from its current position as a base tag). All of the articles in the Archive would need to be tagged with one of these four child tags (the "Canon" parent tag is just for organization in the tag listing, like "Sources: Games"). Official Canon would apply to anything that was developed by Cyan and is still considered to be proper canon. Extended Universe would apply to any UCC that makes it into MORE. Redacted would be reserved for information released by Cyan that is now considered inaccurate or otherwise invalid (Trap Books, for example); this tag should be avoided if the veracity of the subject is simply in question (i.e. Tadjinar), and such articles should be tagged with "Official Canon" instead until a final determination is made by Cyan as to the accuracy of the information. "Apocrypha" is reserved for material not developed by Cyan which has been introduced as part of the mythos of the Myst universe but is in fact completely inaccurate (The Riven Journals and the Myst comic books come to mind here).

As far as what can be put in the Archive, I'm trying to tread a fine line with this. On the one hand, I want to readily recognize the work put into the numerous fan-created Age projects that the GoW has undertaken and built an interface for in Uru:CC, because there really is a lot of spectacular work there. On the other hand, the Archive is intended to be a storehouse of information about the Myst universe, not the Myst fan community at large, and the only content that Cyan has said will be treated as extended canon is what makes it into MORE. As a result, a lot of the UCC for Uru:CC (that's confusing...) is not eligible, because it's essentially still fiction (really awesome fiction, but still fiction) built into one of Cyan's stand-alone products, and as a result carries the same canonical weight as, for example, a fanfic posted to MystCommunity (and again, I am in no way trying to disparage the work done to do any of this... I'm speaking strictly from the perspective of whether it's a sanctioned extension of canon).

So, here's what I'm proposing as a guideline for what can be added to the Archive. Any material being developed for MORE that has received a FCAL from either Cyan or the FCAL Panel can be added to the Archive. Further, anything that happens in MORE, be it story, the opening of a new Age/area, etc. can also be added to the Archive, because Cyan is going to be maintaining the "canon" label on the game to the greatest extent possible. Ages and other content being developed for MORE can be added to the Archive as soon as it has received FCAL approval; it doesn't need to be released in the game to have an entry. Such Ages should be listed as being unavailable and either under restoration (for "discovered" Ages) or still being Written (for new "explorer-Written" Ages). Screenshots should only be provided once the Age has reached a certain level of completeness, and must be taken in-game; no screenshots from Blender or other development environment.

Content that is not being released as part of MORE will only be added if it has been approved as a valid extension of canon by Cyan. For UCC for Uru:CC (that will not be part of MORE and/or does not have a FCAL for MORE), I think it would be better cataloged somewhere where it won't get lost amidst the increasing number of articles in the Archive, such as the GoW site.


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#2 BladeLakem


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Posted 21 August 2008 - 09:33 PM

Sounds like a good plan. We could also direct people working on stuff outside of the Extended Universe to the Writer's Ring forums for posting fiction, and such. There are places for those forging their own path to go.

I would also suggest a Wikipedia-style 'notability' rule for archive articles on individuals. Everyone in Cavern is 'canon'. But this isn't a profile site. So I'd suggest only those people that are notable in the Canon and Expanded Universe (Supplemental Canon? Appendicies?) be in the archive. For example, Rils would merit an article, because of his trip to Negilahn with Sharper and Nick. But Blade Lakem wouldn't because he ain't done nothin'. wink.gif

#3 Horatio252

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 08:14 AM

Yes, that sounds like a very good plan. That seems like a reasonable line to draw and a good way of going about it.
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#4 Robert The Rebuilder

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 06:38 AM

Thanks for writing up this proposal, Alahmnat. I'll try to get the other members of the GoW to chime in on this. [EDIT: I solicited their opinions in this topic.] I agree with what you wrote.

Here's a question for you: Given that Cyan has said that ages that have already received a FCAL for Uru:CC do not need another one for MORE (reference needed), can we start creating entries for ages in this category?

For a list of such ages, see the Age Approval Status page. It cites the date that the FCAL was received by Cyan for each approved age.

Edited by Robert The Rebuilder, 27 August 2008 - 07:29 AM.

#5 Tweek

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 01:40 PM

I would perhaps advise against using terms like "Redacted", and "Apocrypha" and use terms that are more understandable for the general population.

At the moment over at Beneath I just have Ages tagged as "d'nee sev" and "rild'nee sev" to show the differences between official and fan ages. Course with fans making D'ni ages that could be an issue.

#6 Dot

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 11:58 PM

Thank you, Alahmnat, for putting together this thoughtful and detailed proposal, and thanks, Robert, for mentioning it on the GoW forum.

I can see how this might need to be linked with the discussions on the FCAL process -- or will that complicate issues?

By the way, the current Age Approval Status page doesn't seem to be quite up to date. For example, Camp Bravo and Zephyr Cove were both granted FCA licenses on 10 April 2008 (see http://www.guildofma...p?p=3386#p3386).
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#7 Robert The Rebuilder

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 11:21 AM

QUOTE(Dot @ Aug 28 2008, 12:58 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
For example, Camp Bravo and Zephyr Cove were both granted FCA licenses on 10 April 2008 (see http://www.guildofma...p?p=3386#p3386).

Thanks for pointing this out, Dot. I updated the table to reflect this.

#8 Montgomery

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 02:30 PM

The Maintainers have been discussing (and some work has been done) on the formation of the official Book of Commentaries. Ideally, this would be a modern "continuation" of the historic D'ni book of the same name, with essentially the same purpose adapted to our situation. MustardJeep is heading up this project over at the GoMa.

The way I undertand it, and would like to see it implemented is: the Inspection Teams would include members who's functions are to write IC descriptions of the Age from the point of view of Maintainers doing Inspections and writing reports as part of the approval process (in reality, these Ages would already have been granted approval). The content of these commentaries would be a combination of the actual observations made during inspections and whatever elements of the backstory the Writer wishes to be incorporated into this commentary. Also included may be such things as IC events that may have occured during the inspection process (OOC: development) of the Age which only the Maintainers or the Writer him/herself could have witnessed prior to the GoMa stamp of approval and the Age's inclusion in MORE. An example might be that the Writer's intended backstory includes some elements that are not possible to implement into the game, such as a conversation with a native, or the witnessing of some geological event, etc.

Now that the GoA is official, and these entries have become the official Archives, it is only natural that this Book of Commentaries should reside here. This would mean that our teams would need to abide by any rules governing GoA entries. But it would also mean that "Book of Commentaries" could serve as a convenient "tag" for user-created content added to the Archives -- even if the approved Age is an official D'ni book recently discovered. The fact that's it's inclusion in these Archives is by way of the Maintainers' official report is the only thing (I think) that is needed to identifiy/separate "official Cyan-created" content from "official Cyan-approved, fan-created" content. All other tags and categories could (and should) be as Alahmnat proposed, pending cmmunity acceptance.

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#9 BladeLakem


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Posted 14 September 2008 - 06:40 PM

I think the commentaries are a good resource. I'd like to see them in separate entries from the main entries for an Age however - I can see the use of a purely encyclopedic entry for an Age (commentaries seem to have a bit more of an editorial tone. That's cool, but it is a different thing and should be categorized differently). It could have a link to the commentary, and vice versa. And commentaries could have their own tag.

#10 Nalates

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 01:52 PM

I had not really thought of the challenges some of the new UCC would bring to cataloging. I had planed to create a separate section in the GoC Tech Data for UCC mapping. I think your points are valid. I think I'll adopt a similar plan for the Tech Data site.

I agree separating some of the maps just on the basis of who created them is a poor idea.

Separating by how they fit into the story makes more sense to me. If an age is in world, maps will be expected by fans. Ages that do not make it into MORE and are only in Uru:CC will likely confuse new fans, at least it would me. I'd be looking all over trying to find a way in. Only AFTER I gave up and went looking for spoilers would I find out there is no such area in world. I would be bummed. confused.gif

The GoMa commentaries of age inspection... what a neat idea. However the tagging works I look forward to reading them.

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