I realized the moment I fell into the fissure that the Book would not be destroyed as I had planned. It continued falling into that starry expanse, of which I had only a fleeting glimpse. I have tried to speculate where it might have landed, but I must admit that such conjecture is futile. Still, questions about whose hands might one day hold my Myst book are unsettling to me. I know my apprehensions might never be allayed, and so I close, realizing that perhaps the ending has not yet been written. -- Atrus

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Can We Just Talk About Skyrim?

The title of this blog is Baladria on Myst, and in case you didn't realize, it's meant to be a play on that phrase "This is your brain on drugs."  When Obduction was announced, I added Obduction to the header, which therefore made this blog Cyan-specific.  Another game I spend a lot time playing is the excellent city-building game Pharaoh, which is superior to any other by miles, but I've avoided discussing it here because it wouldn't fit, you know?  I also used to play Rome:Total War but haven't in a very long time.  

Around the holidays in 2016, a friend gave me an extra key for Elder Scrolls: Skyrim.  I'd never played any Elder Scrolls game before, and, after starting it up, have never played a game where I have to fight anyone.  I mean in Pharaoh and Rome you have to send off armies and such, but in first-person fighting I had no experience.  

Another friend told me to be careful with Skyrim because it will take up a lot of your life.  I did not believe this, but then I hadn't yet begun playing it. Oh dear.  

At first I had no idea what was going on.  I followed some random guy who told me to follow him as he decimated enemies, we snuck past a bear, I touched some "warrior stone," and he killed a wolf on the way to a place called Riverwood where he left me. Uh, what?  I wandered around this town, lurking around taking vegetables from barrels.  My only the thought was what is this all about?

I wandered off again and discovered a place called Whiterun.  Eventually I received the directive to go kill a dragon, so off I went and let other people do the killing.  Then, I absorbed a dragon soul. 

I was still clueless as to the main point to the whole thing, but as received more and more missions I came to understand how this game consumes your life!  Staying up until 2am to finish the mission, trying to level up to enjoy a new perk so you can kill more dragons, etc.  my current goal is to smith dragon armor from the enormous pile of scales I have sitting in the chest in my house.  I bought a house, like, really?

My main problem, however, is the zombies.  I have a strong fear of zombies, that is as one encounters them in movies.  I am someone who was terrified by Shaun of the Drad, so...yeah...

Those Draugr.  I had nightmares about them. 

I joined a military group so I could level up smithing.  This is my life goal, people.  

I still have zero idea what the point of the whole thing is, but I have become obsessed anyway hahaha!  And I take having my follower, Lydia, very seriously.  A couple times she died, so I loaded an earlier save to save her ha!

It somewhat reminds me of that creeptastic "game(?)" Second Life, minus the creep factor.  It's certainly an adventure!

But now I want to get Queen and The Witness and Children of the Nile.  Looks like this blog will have an expanded repertoire!  Fun!!!!!  I'm excited, and I hope you are, too!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Walkthrough Update

I have deemed making my walkthrough available via PDF might be a copyright infringement...I'm not sure...  So, alas I won't add it.  However, I did finish it, and I uploaded it to a site that's typically for self-publishing, but I made it available only to myself.  It's being printed now and I'm very excited to see the finished product.  Unfortunately, I already found a couple things that should be fixed, but it's nothing that hinders the walkthrough. It's always when it's too late that you notice stuff like that ugh!!!!

I do believe, however, that I should make a post here about the Gauntlet because I pinned down exactly how many swaps are necessary for each stage: 2, 4, 6, 10.  I've also got all the rotation down on the giant Kaptar sphere.  

As to the Villein number puzzle, I recently asked a friend what he thought about the math.  He said you don't actually need to figure out the number system because there's a path that can take you in the right direction to get to Hunrath.  Can someone point out to me where exactly this is?  I've tried Googling this info, but no one who has mentioned it is forthcoming anout how to find this nifty shortcut. 

I finally figured out what's up with the ending and what it all means.   Also, I discovered why the fish I didn't catch on to that battery...the blue I needed was buried under the huge black bar that covers the bottom of the pages in the journals!  Grrrr!  Hopefully I will one day get a new computer so I can play the latest updated version of Obduction.  

I also realized what happened with all those carts in C.W.'s workroom.  When I played the first time it never struck me that they contained the panels for the tree.  In fact, the first time I played I don't even think I noticed they were there, or if I did I didn't add up the facts.  Surprise surprise!

At the end I finally saw C.W. riding the rail to the tree which is something I missed before. There was a lot I missed before.  I know some people have criticized the puzzles as having no logic, but I have to say--just because you didn't figure out the logic doesn't mean there isn't any.  And once you do figure out the logic, the experience is all the more enriching. I think the game truly is better the second time around. 

On to other important things!  Did I ever mention I got my hands on the rare Myst bundle "Gear for the Journey"?  Well I did!  But to add to that fabulous news, following one of my readers' activities, I've begun a search for all five covers of the From Myst to Riven book.  I've had a copy for eons already, which has the 233rd Age lab on the cover.  Today I just got a beautiful copy of the one with the path that goes under the fire marble done on Jungle Island.  The covers left to acquire are Tay, the bridge to the golden dome, and the striking path through the island shapes on Survey Island (Plateau Island).

Lastly, I was gifted a copy of Skyrim and I've started to play it.  I have no idea what I'm doing. I've never played a game like it before!  It might work best as a console game I think, but I'm no good with those.  I'd love to get my hands on Quern and The Witness, and a couple other games have been suggested to me. One thing I thought I might start doing here is talking about the other games I play.  For the most part I play Pharaoh, a FANTASTIC strategy and city building game.  In the past I've played some Rome: Total War, but I haven't gone back into that for a while now.  I just recently got another Egypt game called Predynastic Egypt which is along the lines of a Rome or Civ game.  I'm not altogether find of it however.  Also, I don't care for Civ, which I know is a horror of horrors to some people.  A game I want to get is Children of the Nile, but something tells me Pharaoh will still be the best!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Working Walkthrough Preview

Alas, we won't be getting Obduction goodies under our Christmas trees--by the way, can anyone tell me what reward tier includes that little seed figurine?  Or is that actually one of the rewards?  I think I saw it before, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, as promised, I am providing a preview of what I am working on: my very own walkthrough.  As I go, I have to keep making nips and tucks in the formatting and all.  This is because I am still fiddling with the ultimate formatting criteria for my booklet.  It's going to be HUGE, too.  Some pages will have full-page images.  In case you are wondering what program I am using, it is Microsoft Publisher.  That program and I are old friends, and we go back to my days as a children's librarian when I taught interactive classes on various ancient civilizations.  I made full-color booklets full of information, text book style.  So I really learned Publisher inside and out, but after ten years I still encounter new things, believe it or not.  It actually began with a "newspaper" I wrote that was supposed to date to the reign of Hammurabi.  It was called Hammurabi Today, just one shekel an issue, and the newspaper's tagline was "Our news is news, not ancient history!"  HA!  I entertain myself.  (And that's copyrighted, fyi!)  It filled me with such glee to write that thing, and I had a really great article on classism.  I have a goal to publish this thing for kiddies some day.  I hope I will!  But that's another story for another time.

Without further ado, I bring you preview images of my walkthrough:

Yes, it takes forever to make this.  I'm sure you've already figured that, but I just want to confirm your guess.  On the other hand, it seems like it doesn't take too much work, but I assure you...it does.  I'm replaying the game according to sections I have outlined.  After I play that and work out the details, I write it and add images, etc.  I am shocked and amazed by how many things I missed in the first go.  In Farley's house, I had NO idea that the projector could be rotated to the right to shine on the screen with the Villein number hint.  Like...duh, you knooooowwww? (My best Valley Girl speak.)

It's bound to happen that you will notice new things after the first time, especially when you are trying to tell other people how to play it.  I can't get over how I completely had the swap device in the third sphere in the Gauntlet completely wrong.  So glad I fixed that!  I think, perhaps, there could be more tweaks to be made to that guide, but I think I'll just do it in the walkthrough booklet.  My desire for perfection may change that decision, though.  A friend of mine asked me "Do you ever half-ass anything?"  I replied, "Yes, my schoolwork!"  HA!  But then I made a graph to explain my ideas concerning ancient Egyptian socio-political development, so I could be wrong about that.  Actually, I just like making graphics.

I recently learned about the link text box feature in Publisher.  I think I'll toy with that, because if it functions the way I hope it does it will be remarkably simpler to write the pages!

For the layout and such, I have consulted the various academia books I have in my library hahaha!  Gotta make it look legit, amirite?

Note: I hope the images are showing up on your monitor as clearly as they show on mine.  I'm looking at them on a different screen at present and they are coming off as dark, so I don't know what that's about.  Also, any suggestions you may have I will take under consideration.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Guides Updated!

All right, so I went through my Maray puzzles guides and updated them, checked for typos, etc.  I probably still missed something, so if you find an error please tell me.

Speaking of errors!  My guide for Part I of the Gauntlet puzzle was horrifyingly incorrect!  I'm so surprised no one told me about it, with some people being to eager to correct others...  The main problem was in Swap Pod #6.  It contains two swap devices, which I hadn't realized before.  See, this is why you replay!  Now that you know the answers you can check and recheck exactly how you arrived at them.  I also learned that in the Group 5 swaps, you don't actually need to use device B at all.  All of this has been laid out more clearly in the revised guides:

Gauntlet Guide

Villein Numbers Guide

In other news, with regards to the walkthrough I am compiling, I have had lots of duh moments with that, too.  I think.  I can't quite remember now, actually ha!  Today is Monday and I thought it was Thursday, and I was gearing up for the weekend only to learn that it had already passed.  Talk about a bummer!

The walkthrough is looking amazing, if I do say so myself.  I am putting it together in such a way as you can have it printed and bound nicely (if you want) and add it to your physical rewards collection.  Obviously it also works just as well as a digital resource.  I will add the above guides to the walkthrough as appendices.  They'll look a tad different in terms of layout when they are added to the walkthrough because I want the formatting to match.  The puzzle answers will be within the walkthrough text itself, of course--just understand that the guides/appendices are spelling out the puzzle instead of just giving the answer.  In the walkthrough it would be more like "go here, move this, do that" and won't go into detail about how the puzzle really functions.

I even have a table of contents!  Oh I can't wait to show you!  So far I have reached the moment of just having opened the swing bridge, so I have a long way to go.  The cover of the booklet is gorgeous, and I managed to duplicate the Obduction title/logo, colors and all.  The image is a beautiful screenshot of the mind-trip zones in the trees.  It's the Hunrath portal looking through to the Kaptar portal.  If you've been good boys and girls this year maybe Santa will show you a preview.  Depends on how lazy or not lazy Santa is.

Since Santa is on the mind already, is it bad that I'm still waiting for a Festivus miracle that the physical rewards might find their way under my tree?  I do very much like presents.

You know, I already have lots of presents under the tree (which Bagheera and Topaz are working out how to destroy).  Have I mentioned this before?  I create a Christmas wishlist on Amazon, then have my mom log in to my account, order and gift wrap them and pay with my card so that I end up buying myself something for Christmas without knowing what it is I've gotten myself!  Clever, yes?  But then my mom goes one step further and buys me other things with her own money, and this year she sent me gifts from my cats!  Hahahahaha!!!!!  Before you snicker "crazy cat lady" just know that it wasn't my idea!  She, and a friend of mine also, sent Christmas gifts to the cats.  It's a crazy cat community!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Baladria's Walkthrough

I showed a friend of mine the Myst journal I compiled this summer.  You know the thing...that thing most fans do: a sort of role play journal with answers to all the puzzles.  There tend to be tons of drawings and the like.  That friend doesn't play computer games, so she was fascinated by my enthusiasm for Myst, and compared the journal to writing s dissertation.  Since she had been so mystified by that little ole thing, I showed her the two guides I put together on the two crazy Maray puzzles in Obduction.  She told me I should've gone into graphic design and game building instead of my current study and was blown away by my little diagrams.  I told her that am not by any means of the caliber required to go into either of those professions; she doesn't know about all the engines and gear and softwares that go into these things, all of which I know nothing about.  I guess I'll stick to little charts and diagrams that I make to relax. 

I'm going through my Gauntlet guide at the moment, running through Maray again to check all the facts and update where necessary.  I've already had some "duh" moments about the swaps which I hadn't caught on to my first time around. 

Now, I know there are countless walkthroughs out there, lots of YouTube videos, and websites with all the answers.  Nevertheless, I decided I would add to the noise and create my own walkthrough akin to the two guides I've written already!  And those two guides would be supplemental, more detailed versions of what you'll find in the walkthrough. I'm very excited about this and look forward to adding it to my material goods we should be getting eventually. 

They'd said December...wouldn't all the goodies look nice under my Christmas tree?

Be sure to check back to look for a new guide!  Yes, it will be public and available for download through Google Docs!

Happy holidays everyone!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Stress-Reducing Artsing & Crafting

Whenever I am feeling a bit down or overwhelmed with deadlines and work and dissertation proposals, I have a tendency to start side projects—as though I didn’t already have enough things to do.  I make lists sometimes, or create parties, which is exactly how my 7-course autumn-themed Halloween soirée happened last month.  Now I have a plan to put together goodie gift boxes for my neighbors.  I really want to bake, but I don’t want to eat any of it, so I thought I’d leave my creations as surprises for my neighbors!  The other day I was imagining my dream house, which only made me feel depressed because who knows when that’s going to happen?

But yesterday I busied myself with Myst things.  I have a “Christmas” wishlist on Amazon and what I like to do is have my mother use my credit card and purchase three things from that list, have it gift wrapped with a note from Santa to me, and ship it to my apartment.  That way I can actually surprise myself when I open presents on Christmas Day!  How clever is that?  I have on this list poster-size picture frames which I intend for my Myst and Riven posters (those really fine ones they were selling about three years ago), as well as frames for my Myst and Riven maps which my mom so graciously bought for me for my birthday this summer.  August was a glorious month this year.  So there I was, imagining my lovely house with an office which would more or less be a holy of holies for my Myst (and Obduction!) collection.

Then my mind wandered into an arts and crafts direction.  I recently purchased a half-moon console table to place beside the dominant side of my couch in order that one might place a drink upon it when sitting there.  I was discussing this with a friend of mine and I was lamenting I didn’t have any coasters.  She told me I could make some, which I thought was a grand idea, but one that wouldn’t happen for a while yet.  Meanwhile, she surprised me with a three coaster set: little bamboo elephant coasters!  Elephants are my favorite animal, so she couldn’t pass it up.  And three is a perfect number because I have one on the new table, and two on the table at the opposite end of the couch which is flanked by another chair.  I take home décor very seriously hardy har har.

Nevertheless, I was still interested in this make your own coasters activity, most especially because it hit me exactly what artwork I could use for such a project: the symbols from the Ahnonay Cathedral in Uru!  I loaded up the game and dashed off to the Cathedral to take screenshots.  Once I had all my images, I worked on photoshopping them (with my poor man’s photoshop software, Paint.net—which rocks, so no making fun!  I mean, who can afford Photoshop these days?).  Finally, I had two versions of the Kadish symbols.  I’ll get to the second version in a second.

I made 4-inch images for when I eventually acquire 4-inch round tiles.  Then I will make my 8-piece coaster set!  I saw online just things morning that someone had made magnets with these same images.  Glad I’m not the only one with this idea!  Here are the eight images:

Ahnonay clue symbols from the Cathedral and Kadish's gallery in D'ni

 Now what is this second version?  I always thought it would be neat to have a hallway just like the Ahnonay Cathedral.  And then, one day when watching my favorite TV show Frasier, I noticed some interesting artwork.  In the third season, episode two, “Shrink Rap,” we see Niles’s practice.  On the back wall are some rather Kadish-looking artworks.

Still from Frasier, Season 3, Episode 2, "Shrink Rap"

How excellent!  So now I want to create prints and frame them in like manner, and then dream of acquiring a nice long hallway, or make a wall mosaic hanging all eight framed images in one group.  Wouldn’t that be lovely?

The fun doesn’t stop there!

While imagining my dream house, I thought about those half-moon windows that one finds over front doors.  Sometimes these are decorated stained glass.  You can’t get more Ahnonay Cathedral than that.  So in my little dream world, I have such a window, and I want it to be decorated with the Ahnonay symbol (halved, of course).  It would be neat to have the whole thing, but I just don’t think that would be feasible.  Or would it?

Ahnonay stained glass icon / map

And while I was getting carried away, I stayed up until 1:30 am working on yet another project.  I’m not quite sure what I would do with them; I’ve had some half-formed ideas.  I made a reconstruction of the tree puzzle floor in Kadish Tolesa.  One by one I crafted the tiles with the fourteen different shapes.

Floor from in Kadish Tolesa

On a final kick, I built the entire floor.

Reconstruction of the floor "tree" puzzle in Kadish Tolesa

The tiles are small, but I think enlarging them to a larger size, say 8x8ish would work also.  However, these tiles are not 100% regular hexagons, so what I would need to do it make the shape template and then outline it on a square tile and cut it to a proper shape with a ceramic saw.  I would get a professional to do it though.  I wouldn’t trust doing it myself.  Anyway, how neat would it be to have a bathroom floor (or even decorating the lower half of the walls?) with these tiles, or an enclosed patio with a Kadish tiled floor?  Or even in the kitchen?  Hoo hoo, hee hee, ha ha!  The possibilities are endless!

Next, because Riven things are always a necessity in a Myst fan’s life, being the supreme being and all, I thought to copy one fan’s replica of the Riven balls.  I have in mind to buy 3-inch wood spheres, give them a walnut stain, and then paint them with their respective numbers.  You know how people have those bizarre centerpieces of balls in a bowl?  I will have the same with the Riven balls!  Hahahaha!  Seriously, though, what is this decorative ball thing?  That’s up there with wax fruit displays, or bowls with rocks, or fake books.

I wonder what the Cyan folk would think of this…it’s a little obsessive, isn’t it?  Do you think they are a little afraid of the weirdos who take it to this level?

Finally, on an Obduction note, I still have the task of editing my Maray puzzle guides.  I intend to have them printed and bound, so I’m like them to be polished.  I already had to switch the page numbers to the opposite side of the page.  I think I have one correction to make in the Villein number puzzle guide.  For the Gauntlet, I want to run through it a couple different times just to make sure I have everything correct there.  That’s a really neat one to think about.  The number puzzle is actually totally easy once it finally clicks that you’re working out powers of four (really don’t know why it took me so long), but the Gauntlet requires a bit more consideration since it requires going everywhere and all over the place, moving this here and that there, and getting confused where you’ve left a swapped scoop.  But yes, I’ll share my completed project when I am satisfied with its completion.  Likely there would still be some edits required that I will have missed, but if it gets you to the correct solution it doesn’t really matter all that much, claro?

Cyan and Obduction logo cookies, experimenting with new cake decorating tips

I leave you with a picture of the silly cookies I made.  I ordered a basic 4-piece set of cake decorating tips for when I make Christmas cookies this year, and I wanted to practice.  I discovered the tips were actually too big, so I ordered different ones, legit ones.  Anyway, I played around with the crappy ones and made logo cookies.  Then I ate them(!) which is the exact reason why I want to give away my Christmas baking!  Needless to say, the excessive food coloring required to make that tealish color made things interesting three days later.  I’ll let you figure that out.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Guides for your entertainment

Hi folks!  You've probably already played and finished Obduction.  In any case, if you or someone you know have/has not, then I made some fun little guides for the Villein number puzzle and the two-parter Gauntlet.  Maray's adorable triplets.  (Apparently I have nothing better to do with my time, such as, say, proposal writing O.O)

I posted the Villein one already, but thought I may as well list them both together.  Go forth and conquer!

Gauntlet guide: CLICK

Villein numbers: CLICK

As I have said elsewhere, if you find any mistakes or places that require improvement, please let me know.  I couldn't re-test my Gauntlet guide because after downloading patch #2 from Steam, my game, horror of horrors, keeps crashing.

Ha!  A line from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom just popped into my head!  You receive an automatic imaginary cookie if you guess which one.

The Gauntlet one completely reevaluates the puzzle, and has vastly improved upon my "understanding" and infographics of the puzzle in my earlier posts.  There are other things in the game that I need to reevaluate now that I've gone through it once.  It's always exciting to learn new stuff each time you play Cyan games!

It was a lot of fun to make these little beauties.  I hope they are equally enjoyed.