Instancing - Bookmarks

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Note: This page is a work in progress as I detail thoughts on my Instancing proposal. -- Marten

TODO:

  • Identify and add any missing Location/Link pairs
  • Add detailed linking information for remaining Ages
  • Identify how existing Yeesha bookmarks work with the proposal
  • Discuss issues and possible solutions to Kenguin's Issues List
  • Note which instances are "default" in which situations
  • Resolve any lingering inconsistencies
  • Begin related proposal for KI Interface:Group Management

Objective

Replace the Instancing system with a consistent model that gives players greater control. Under the MOUL model, some areas of the game could only be shared by neighbors; under the proposed model, players will be able to invite friends to share all areas of the game.

Prerequisites

  • Performance Improvements for large groups in one Age
  • Queuing system for high-population areas
  • Grouping ("Party") System implemented into KI

Origin of Concept

First, this proposal is an attempt to incorporate the model of Instancing used in other popular multiplayer online games. A detailed description of Instancing as it applies in most MMOs can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instance_dungeons, but the key idea is that players do not need to be independently invited to every instance they wish to visit together; players may ally themselves with friends to form a group or party such that all members automatically enter an instance together.

Second, this proposal is inspired by some unused assets hidden in the game files for Uru. One of the more intriguing assets is series of three hanging banners (one blue, one red, and one purple) that can appear in the Library area of Ae'gura. Each of the pedestals under the banners has a set of matching ribbons, although not all pedestals have all ribbons. The sequence of books and ribbons was as follows:

  • Gahreesen: Red and Blue
  • Teledahn: Purple, Red, Blue
  • Kadish: Purple and Blue
  • Ahnonay Cathedral: Purple and Blue
  • Uran Silo: Purple and Blue

Each banner has one of two symbols on it. The first symbol is named "Yeesha's Story" and it appears on the blue and purple banners. The second symbol is named "Journey Story" and appears on the red banner. This Bookmark Instance proposal is based upon personal musings of how these ribbons may have been intended to work.

Application: Rules

Acquisition and Use

A set of bookmarks are acquired by the player at the beginning of the game, perhaps in Cleft as an alternative to the Relto book, or with a Relto book. Some sort of tutorial will need to be added to explain the function of the bookmarks.

The bookmarks may be applied to books and Bahro stones; they may not, for obvious reasons, be applied to portals of more ethereal nature.

Two bookmark ribbons appear when the player lifts a book or Bahro stone to examine it. The bookmarks function in this manner:

  • Solo Journey (solo hand symbol) - when active, the player will link to his or her own private Age. The Solo Journey bookmark should always be available.
  • Group Journey (paired hand symbols) - when active, the player and his or her companions will link to the same Age, which will be the private Age of the "expedition leader." The Group Journey bookmark is only available for a book or Bahro Stone if the player has joined a group, and the leader must have collected and unlocked the Age in his or her Relto.
  • No bookmark (drc symbol) - when neither bookmark is active, the player will link to the authentic (public) instance of the Age. This instance may be unavailable if it is at player capacity (see "Managing Access to Full Areas" below), and although this proposal does not mandate it, the public Age might also be unavailable if the player has not completed one or more tasks in his or her private version of the Age.

There will few exceptions where the bookmarks do not apply in the above manner.

Here is a comparison of the how this model replaces the sharing of Instances as it worked in Myst Online.

In Myst Online, a player could reach a friend's Age by one of these methods:

  • Meet the friend, link to the friend's Relto, then pull the unlocked book from the bookshelf
  • Meet the friend at a copy of the book in a public space. Accept a sharing of the book from the friend.
  • Receive an invitation from the friend. Link to Nexus, and access the book.

In this proposal, a player can reach a friend's Age by:

  • Join a group where the friend is leader. Use the Group Journey bookmark with any book or Bahro stone that links to the friend's collected and unlocked Age.

The Authentic (Public) Age

The Authentic instance of an Age is the legitimate place, typically unmodified by Bahro or Yeesha, open for all explorers. This version of the Age generally lacks rewards. With few exceptions, players will not be able to obtain relto pages, clothing, or puzzle rings from the authentic instance. These Ages are places to hang out, explore, and have parties without needing to invite anyone.

The Journey (Private) Age

The Journey Age is the private instance controlled by an individual or by the leader of a group of explorers who have banded together. The Journey Age contains the Bahro doors, cloths, and rewards that represent progress in the game.

Privacy Control

When in a group, the tab at the top of a book in the leader's Relto bookshelf will enable or disable the group journey bookmark for all links to that Age. Consequently, if the leader has not acquired a book, any group members using that book will find the group bookmark disabled for that Age.

Managing Access to Full Areas

The Bookmark Instancing system depends upon some new or extended method of managing access to high-population areas. Though perhaps deserving of its own proposal, here are a few comments on such a method.

In Prologue and in Myst Online, access to the "real" D'ni City was controlled through the Nexus. Direct linking to the city was not possible; the City books in Relto & Kadish Tolesa and the City Bahro Stone in Neighborhood would link players to a Neighborhood-instanced City. (There was a bug in Myst Online that allowed players to circumvent the intended behavior and link to the main city, but that is not relevant to the discussion of how Cyan meant for the system to work.) When it worked, this system prevented the city from becoming overcrowded.

The original system did not provide a way for players to know when an empty spot had opened in the City. Furthermore, the Bookmark Instancing proposal complicates matters by permitting players to link to public areas from any book - not just Nexus controlled books.

For the Bookmarks proposal to be minimally viable, when the Public instance of an Age is full, the player should not be permitted to link to the that instance, even if he or she has an open book leading to that place. (If an In-Cavern reason is desired for being unable to link, it could simply be that when an area is too crowded, it is not safe to link into that area, and perhaps the link becomes unstable.) The link in the book could appear as a swirling black void, unless one of Yeesha's bookmarks is applied.

This minimal system still leaves much to be desired. A better system would permit background downloading of an Age as well as for waiting on an empty spot in a filled-to-maximum-capacity area. Players attempting to use a book linking to a full area would be notified that they are unable to link to the Age (for whatever reason). The player would be given the option to be notified later when the Age is available. If the Age is downloaded but the public area is full, the player could also still link to a private instance.

An even more advanced solution would introducing queuing, and could permit a player to immediately link to an area that he or she has been waiting to visit. However, this solution is likely to be unsatisfactory to players who want canon rules enforced on actual gameplay, rather than "ICly" explaining that they had linked back to Relto first before linking to the destination Age.

Application: Specifics (List of Locations and Age Links)

Self

  • Relto
    • There is no single "authentic" original Relto. Each Relto is its own unique place, and so there is no need for a Solo Journey bookmark with this book.
    • When the player is part of a group, as group leader, he or she can control whether people can link to his or her Relto by manipulating the Group bookmark in the Relto book. This will enable or disable the Group bookmark in group members' Relto books. If the player is not a member of a group, the Group bookmark does not appear.

Relto

  • Neighborhood
    • Each Neighborhood is considered a public place. No private instances exists for these books. The Solo and Group bookmarks do not appear when opening the Neighborhood book in Relto, and all links take the player to the neighborhood for which the player is a member.
  • Nexus
    • Nexus is a public place that operates in a way that prevents two explorers from occupying the same "cell." The Solo and Group bookmarks do not appear when opening the Nexus book.
  • Ae'gura (many links)
    • Authentic, Solo Journey, and Group Journey are available.
  • Cleft
    • Book only available after Original Journey Ages are complete. Authentic, Solo Journey, and Group Journey are available. Dropping through the cleft in Relto to complete Original Journey will take the player to a Solo Journey Cleft. Solo/Group Journey Cleft may be necessary to complete puzzles e.g. link to K'veer.
  • Gahreesen
    • Authentic, Solo Journey, and Group Journey are available. Authentic Gahreesen might be similar to Neighborhood-instanced Gahreesen from Myst Online.
  • Teledahn
    • Authentic, Solo Journey, and Group Journey are available.
  • Kadish Tolesa
    • Authentic, Solo Journey, and Group Journey are available.
  • Eder Gira
    • Authentic, Solo Journey, and Group Journey are available.
  • Eder Kemo
    • Authentic, Solo Journey, and Group Journey are available.
  • Negilahn/Dereno/Payiferen/Tetsonot
    • Authentic, Solo Journey, and Group Journey are available.
  • Er'cana
    • Authentic, Solo Journey, and Group Journey are available.
  • Ahnonay Cathedral
    • Authentic, Solo Journey, and Group Journey are available.
  • Ahnonay
    • Authentic, Solo Journey, and Group Journey are available.
  • Minkata
    • Authentic, Solo Journey, and Group Journey are available. Authentic Minkata might be Nighttime only and lacking Bahro stones, or could still be manipulated but would lack symbols
  • Jalak Dador
    • Authentic, Solo Journey, and Group Journey are available.
  • Myst
    • Authentic, Solo Journey, and Group Journey are available, although Authentic could probably become cramped quickly if only the Library is accessible.

Neighborhood

  • Gahreesen
    • Authentic, Solo Journey, and Group Journey are available. See notes for Relto.
  • Eder Delin
    • Authentic, Solo Journey, and Group Journey are available. Solo Journey would still include Bahro doors but would obviously not be solvable.
  • Eder Tsogal
    • Authentic, Solo Journey, and Group Journey are available. Solo Journey would still include Bahro doors but would obviously not be solvable.
  • Great Zero
In Prologue, Great Zero was a Nexus link. Players linking to Great Zero found themselves in a private instance.
In MOUL, Great Zero was moved to the Neighborhood so that neighbors could gather at the Great Zero. Unfortunately, being able to link from Neighborhood to Great Zero violates the rule against intra-Age linking.
Although this Proposal does not mandate it, with Bookmark Instancing, players could link from Nexus into the public Great Zero, a group Great Zero, or a totally private Great Zero by using the appropriate Instance bookmark; maintaining the book in the Neighborhood is no longer needed for group Great Zero gatherings. However, if the book is moved to Nexus, the stained glass art for Great Zero no longer has a home.
  • Great Stair Bahro Stone
    • Authentic, Solo Journey, and Group Journey are available.

Nexus

  • City Links
  • All Ages available from Relto (except Nexus itself)
  • Watcher's Sanctuary
  • Kirel
  • Guild Pubs

Although not mandated by this proposal, the KI and Nexus could interact according to these rules: Ages visited with a KI would be added to the list of books available through Nexus. Ages visited before picking up the KI would not be added. "Unapproved Ages" might also not be added (as the book would not be added to the Nexus library), and the KI could display ??? while in these Ages (as it would not know the name to display).

D'ni

Ae'gura

  • Nexus
  • Ferry: Teledahn Dock Bahro Stone
  • Takotah: Descent Bahro Stone
  • Museum: Negilahn
  • Museum: Dereno
  • Museum: Payiferen
  • Museum: Tetsonot
  • Gallery: Kadish Tolesa
  • Library: Minkata
  • Library: Jalak Dador
  • Library: Kadish Tolesa Bahro Stone

Baron's Office

  • Teledahn
  • Teledahn Mushroom Bahro Stone

Spyroom

  • Teledahn
  • Phil's Relto

Watcher's Sanctuary

  • Er'cana
  • Ahnonay Cathedral

K'veer

  • Nexus
  • Myst

Uran Silo

  • Er'cana

Gahreesen

  • Neighborhood (Balcony) Bahro Stone
  • D'ni (Ae'gura Balcony 1) Bahro Stone
  • Nexus
  • Wall Nexus
  • Teledahn

Teledahn

  • D'ni (Baron's Office)
  • D'ni (Spyroom) - book or stone?
  • Gahreesen Bahro Stone

Kadish Tolesa

  • D'ni (Ae'gura Balcony 2) Bahro Stone
  • D'ni (Ae'gura Gallery)
  • Kadish Tolesa Alternate

Eder Gira

  • Eder Kemo
  • D'ni (Ae'gura Takotah Roof) Bahro Stone

Eder Kemo

  • Eder Gira
  • Neighborhood (Classroom Roof) Bahro Stone

Negilahn/Dereno/Payiferen/Tetsonot

  • Nexus

Er'cana

  • D'ni (Uran Silo)
  • Upper Bahro Cave Bahro Stone

Ahnonay Cathedral

  • Ahnonay

Ahnonay

  • Ahnonay Cathedral
  • Lower Bahro Cave Bahro Stone

Eder Delin/Eder Tsogal

  • Neighborhood
    • The Neighborhood book in Eder Delin/Eder Tsogal must be replaced with a Nexus book. A Neighborhood book should only link to a specific neighborhood and should not work differently for different players.
  • Nexus
    • Replaces Neighborhood book. The Solo and Group bookmarks do not appear when opening the Nexus book.