Uru consists of a wide variety of different versions (each with their own unique history), and many new users (and even veteran users) have a tendency to confuse the versions. This article strives to order together all the various versions of Uru, both current and old. For more information on Uru, consult the MYSTlore article.
Current Version: MO:UL
Of all the versions of Uru, only one is still actively supported by Cyan and remains the focus of fan development (excluding Age creation): Myst Online: Uru Live, which was started in February 2007 with a partnership between Cyan and Ubisoft, introducing progressively various new Ages (such as Eder Delin, Eder Tsogahl, the pod Ages, Minkata and Jalak), before being shut down in early 2008. It then stayed dormant for two years, until Cyan started Myst Online: Uru Live (again) in February 2010 for free, promising to release an open source version of the client eventually. This promise was fulfilled in April 2011, with the release of the CyanWorlds.com Engine (CWE). MO:ULa doesn't introduce many new changes, save for various additions from the community thanks to open source.
The CyanWorlds.com Engine, commonly abbreviated to CWE, is the open source version of the client used for MO:UL. This does not include the game content (Ages, sound effects, etc.), which is still proprietary and belongs to Cyan.
Even before the client was made open source, work was underway to produce servers capable of receiving connections from MO:UL clients. Two such open source servers are known to exist:
- DIRTSAND: this is the server developed by H'uru for Linux. It currently lacks a few features (including Heek, for example), which the client will be handling eventually.
- MOSS: MOSS is a server developed by a'moaca' and cjkelly1 for *nix operating systems and hosted by OpenUru.
Additionally, there is the Cyan-run server for MO:ULa, which is proprietary and for which the source code hasn't yet been released.
The only fully-functional way to publish Ages for MO:UL is to use the Cyan-created Max Plugin for 3ds Max. Additionally, PlasmaShop is an excellent tool for handling decryption, Python file-editing and other functions.
Shards running MO:UL-compatible servers are comparatively rare. The following are the most important Shards:
- MO:ULa, a Cyan-run server for free with a few additions from other Shards,
- Gehn Shard: this is the shard used by H'uru to test their changes publicly. Sign-up is free and open to all.
- Minkata Shard: this is shard used by OpenUru.org to test fixes before submitting them to Cyan for inclusion in MO:ULa.
A full list of Shards can be found here. This list includes Shards for old versions of Uru (see below).
It is much more difficult to understand all the older versions of Uru. Essentially, there are the following versions:
- Uru: Ages Beyond Myst (ABM): released in 2003, this is the oldest version of Uru available. Some features are unavailable for this version (such as swimming regions) and it is rarely used. It was followed by two expansion packs.
- Uru: To D'ni: this was the first expansion and was introduced after Uru Live was shut down. It provided access to then-unavailable regions of the City and related Ages (the Great Zero (including the offline marker missions), Kirel, Descent and Phil's Relto).
- Uru: The Path of the Shell (TPOTS): the second expansion introduced the player to a second path, the path of the shell, to be taken in the newly-available Watcher's Sanctuary, Er'cana, Ahnonay, the City silo, K'veer and Myst. To D'ni was integrated into the expansion pack.
- Uru Live: Uru Live was a cancelled MMOG version of Uru started in 2003 consisting of various beta stages, with planned paid subscriptions.
- Untìl Uru (UU): UU was started shortly after the first Uru Live was shut down. It consisted of a centralized auth server owned by Cyan, a proprietary game server distributed to users so that they could host their own online versions of Uru and a patch for clients to connect to these servers. The user servers were called Shards. In 2006, Cyan started their own Shard called D'mala. The auth server was shut down in early 2007 when Myst Online: Uru Live was started.
- Uru: Complete Chronicles (CC/TPOTS): this version combines ABM with To D'ni and TPOTS, the latter abbreviation being also commonly used to refer to Uru: Complete Chronicles, since the two are essentially the same product; the only difference lay in the provided CD bundle, not in the software.
Even though these versions share many similarities with MO:UL, none of the Ages built for them are currently compatible with MO:UL because of various differences. Some tools are available however to facilitate conversion (see above and below).
Most of the released fan Ages are targeted at these versions of Uru; as such, quite a few tools exist to facilitate the process. These include the following:
- Drizzle: an extremely useful tool, Drizzle includes the Uru Age Manager to allow for a convenient method of downloading and publishing fan Ages for offline versions of Uru. It also allows for conversions of Cyan Ages from Myst Online: Uru Live, from Myst V, Crowthistle, Hex Isle and MagiQuest.
- Offline KI: the Offline KI allows for access to fan Ages in-game, creation of marker quests, flymode and many new KI commands.
- PyPRP: a Blender plug-in to allow exporting of creations to old versions of Uru. PyPRP2, currently in development, will also allow the user to export to MO:UL.
The concept of Shards appeared during Untìl Uru, and allowed for the offline versions of Uru to connect online to individual game servers. Three known types of servers are able to serve Shards to old clients:
- The server used by Cyan in the original Uru Live back in 2003 and 2004. It only worked with ABM.
- Alcugs, an open-source server based on reverse engineering the Uru Live protocol. The latest version works both with UU and CC clients.
- Until Uru, the closed-source server for Linux released by Cyan which, naturally, only works with UU clients.
The most well-known Shard was D'mala, as it was hosted by Cyan. However, there was a great number of Shards, a full list of which is unavailable.
After MO:UL was shut down, Shards using this old technology were created again, and they are still the only way for many fan Ages to be played together online. The most important ones are: