I'm suffering a little from insomnia
right now. Here's to hoping that it's just part of what I'm hoping
is just a cold. After what feel like a month of day-to-day all-day
meetings (sometimes 2 or 3 at a time), and my general dislike of
Internet forums, I'm having trouble following the state of things
after the announcement (and just the announcement) that Myst
Online will be released as open source. My initial thoughts on this are here.
The primary source of information right
now is the Myst Online forums. And with everyone trying to get their
take on what's happening out, they are taking a beating. I've
actually given up on trying to make sense of anything. I came to
terms a long time ago that I was seriously limited in my ability to
participant in arguments on forums. Most of the problem I have with
forums being my difficulty in sticking to "short format"
discussion. I always feel as if the forum was a series of crowded
rooms where everyone is expected to should one or two talking points
and then wait some random interval before shouting again. My writing
always feels too dense. And the conversation moves too fast (even
for me) and in unpredictable ways.
I find the visual style of every forum
I've ever been on doesn't help convey the message of those
participating. It seems to encourage not reading anything
completely. And when an item is considerably longer than those
around it, I don't think it gets read at all. Forum conversations
also feel so incredibly fragmented.
I've not really been following the
conversation about the announced open source project for Myst Online.
I want to, but I just can't. I've got cold (I hope that's all it
is). I've had a month of all day meetings (sometimes 2 or 3 at a
time). Right now, there just isn't enough real information.
I am concerned about how the release of
source code for the client and the server will affect the community.
An event like this tends to favor those
who will dive into the code and start doing something with it. But
let us not make the mistake of confusing technical skills for the
ability to lead. I've seen that happen too often over my career.
Someone demonstrates an enhanced capability to perform a function,
deal with a technology, execute some process. Before too long, that
person finds themselves not doing that thing, but leading others.
Sometimes with catastrophic results for the people, process or
Please don't take these to suggest that
a strong technical person is incapable of leadership. That's not
true (please let it not be true).
Another related concern is overall
leadership and guidance of the community as the project gets going
and starts determining its own direction.
While there are some serious issues
that the community will decide need to be addressed, I'm afraid that
we'll see the project solve a number of very specific use cases that
really don't contribute back to a more general use cases of an MMO
(not that I know what those are). I've seen this during every
requirements gathering cycle in which I've been a participant.
"Wouldn't it be great if, in this one instance . . . " But that
one instance is a special case representing less than 1% of the total
transactions. And optimizing for that use case makes another
transaction that happens 20% of the time 100 times harder.
But this isn't a business system. It's
use is not for tracking client transactions with a service delivery
unit. It's a game engine. What if every episode of Heroes or Lost
or Survivor was suddenly about the mechanics of how the show worked
and not the story being presented? What is going to happen to the
I'm playing the game because I want to
escape from normal, everyday things. I want to explore and discover
and, in the end, believe that I've come closer to some kind of truth
in the setting (and hope that the lies I'm being told are at least
entertaining). I want the conflicts I find myself in as a player or
a character, to serve some meaningful end in learning the truth, or
hiding it from others. I don't want cookie cutter plots, repetitive
storytelling or a grind, just to grind.
Maybe over my holiday vacation I'll
find the time and motivation to mine the forums and other parts of
the conversation to see what's going on. Or maybe I'll just wait
until the code is released and see what happens.
Till then, I'm not too worried. It's
not like anyone is ever going to read this, or understand it if they