This is a compilation of all the various ideas I have had for improving the Cleft. Feel free to add your ideas in the discussion or the page itself.
The Cleft is a beautiful and interesting (area of an) Age. However, there's not that much to it.
What these improvements would need
Beyond the programming needs, the assembled projects would require
models and textures
A few DVD cases, a DVD player, a stack of DVDs. Nighttime textures (sky, campfire, whatever else would change in the night). A crate or something
Several animations of Zandi. At the least, his walking in and out of the trailer.
Cricket sounds (or whatever would be appropriate) for night scenes, as well as some other sounds. More Zandi speeches would be very cool, but not necessary.
Idea 1 - Getting Relto Early
See Starting Point - Gloa Plan Explorers would start the game at a single-player cleft. However, Zandi would have a Relto book out on a crate.
If we could get voice acting here, he would place the book on the crate next to him, saying something like "Hey, welcome. So, uh, I'm Zandi. I probably know more about why you're here than you do [chuckle]. Don't worry about it. You felt drawn here, just like the others. I'm not really here to give you... answers. Just to give you help, and get you started. And, uh, if you want to skip this, that's okay. I've got a book, here. If you want to get through this now, just take it. But, uh, you might want to try this out, first.She's left a message for you in the Cleft. Listen to it well. Follow her. Find the Journeys, and then... enter the tree. Oh, and uh... check with me if you need help." (He would then place the Relto book on the crate. If you approached the crate at any time, he would prompt you to take it. When you clicked on it, you would put it on and link out, while Zandi muttered something about how "explorers these days are all so impatient.")
However, it's most likely we wouldn't get voice acting. In this case, the book would be already on a crate nearby. It would have a note on it (from Zandi, probably, or Yeesha) saying basically the same thing.
In either case, the explorer could still go through the Journey then. If not, they could always go through later. This would get them the Journey pillar Relto page (which would automatically be in their book if they went through the journey the first time).
Idea 2 - Day-Night Cleft
Separate from the single-player Cleft that explorers would start out in, there would be a multiplayer cleft. This would have a day-night cycle (based on a realistic Earth day-night cycle, but perhaps with a little more nighttime). If people do not like the single-player cleft, they could instead have explorers start here. Probably no Zandi help, though (because it would get complicated helping every person, and figuring out who he's talking to, etc.).
At nighttime, the music would stop and the sound of crickets would be heard. Zandi would walk over to the campfire and get a nice bright fire started.
If we could get voice acting, Zandi would wait until a crowd (maybe more than 5 people) got within a certain range before telling them to "all come together" and listen to him tell a story. He would cycle through various ghost stories, "big fish" stories, his adventures in D'ni, funny anecdotes that happened to his uncle, etc. The voice talent could just make them up, or some writer could submit them. These could perhaps be done purely through text, but voice would be much better.
Zandi would eventually tell everyone to go to bed and then go into his trailer to sleep. Perhaps even during the day he would go in and out of his trailer, just to add to the realism.
Idea 3 - DVD Player
Zandi would hook up one of those portable DVD players to some kind of extension cable coming from his trailer. When he wasn't watching it, he'd let explorers borrow it. There would be a stack of DVD's nearby to pick from. When you clicked on one, it would display like notes or journals do to show you the label. If you clicked again, you'd watch your avatar insert it into the player and then watch the screen. At first person view (which you would automatically be put into), the screen would fill most of your screen, showing only a few buttons (play, stop, etc.) for IC/OOC adjusting.
The videos would be chosen by the shard owner. The obvious pick would be "home videos" made of the events in Uru, as if one of the explorers had brought a camcorder. This would keep new explorers up to date, and allow them to somewhat experience the past events.
Of course, you could put other videos up too.
This could be merged with the ideas in D'niWeb
Here's the place to submit your ideas.