San Francisco, CA - November 7, 2003 - Ubisoft, one of the world’s largest video game publishers, has announced today its intent to fund the extensive restoration effort of D’ni, an ancient archaeological site recently discovered in New Mexico. Though unknown to many, the D’ni civilization existed for thousands of years beneath the surface of the Earth and was the impetus and historical foundation for the popular CD-ROM games Myst and Riven created by Cyan Worlds, Inc.
“As the publisher of the Myst series, we felt it was imperative to contribute to the effort to restore and preserve this culturally significant site. D’ni made a huge impact on those who have experienced its wondrous beauty through the games that honor its story,” said Gilles Langourieux, General Manager of ubi.com worldwide. “This restoration is both a smart investment in the Myst franchise and provides our customers with a place to visit that is unlike anything they have ever seen.”
Since 1997, the restoration of D’ni has been led by the D’ni Restoration Council (DRC) thanks in large part to its generous benefactor Elias Zandi. While portions of the underground city and Books of D’ni have already been made available to certain visitors, the DRC plans to open the city and allow many explorers before year’s end; a task that requires significant new funding.
Due to this new relationship, the DRC will be more directly linked with Ubisoft and the company’s Myst products. These links will exist not only on its website (www.drcsite.org) but possibly through other locations in the future, including D’ni itself. “It is no secret that the council has been looking for a way to fund the great cost of restoration and we are thrilled to have Ubisoft as a partner enabling us to focus on the areas where we excel: rebuilding a lost city and allowing people to see its beauty again,” said chairman of the DRC, Dr. Richard Watson.
Though very different organizations, both Ubisoft and the DRC share the same vision for the future of D’ni. Both look forward to the day when thousands of visitors will walk its streets and learn of its great history and culture. Whether people are visiting the city’s museums or traveling to new Ages via the inexplicable Linking Books, people will be astounded.
Rand Miller, CEO of Cyan Worlds agrees. “I’ve been making trips to D’ni for quite a while now. I can’t wait for future trips and I look forward to meeting new explorers and watching them become intrigued with the beauty and wonder of D’ni. I truly hope that one day everyone is able to visit.”
Based on the ancient D’ni word meaning “city”, the effort has been dubbed Uru Live. While exciting, it is also a task filled with risks. “We truly do hope the Uru lives again. At the same time, we are not na´ve. Linking to a new Age through a Book is not only dangerous, but in some people’s eyes reckless. D’ni is a dangerous place. However, the safety of everyone who comes to D’ni will be of utmost concern, and for this reason we are thankful to have the funding to help us,” added Dr. Watson.
“One day at a time,” said Ubisoft’s Langourieux. “With this partnership we soon hope to make D’ni a place where everyone can go.”
Look for further announcements regarding the Uru Live project from both Ubisoft and the D’ni Restoration Council in the near future.
Tweek: The DRC site has ground to a halt - do you plan on releasing any more of the information regarding D’ni to the public?
Dr. Watson: I think it’s safe to say that more information will be available over time, but it most likely will not be coming from the DRC.
Tweek: I daresay this is a painful topic but what did happen to John Loftin?
Dr. Watson: Yes, a very painful subject. Suffice it to say that there was an accident. The tragedy is that it could have been avoided if we had just been more careful.
Tweek: What’s in store for the DRC now that the restoration has ended? Where will you go from here?
Dr. Watson: Unfortunately, for now, we’re all working on other things. The former members of the DRC still keep in contact with one another, but we are not the DRC anymore. We still are holding out hope that we can continue the project at some point, maybe in a different way. In the meantime, we’re all just trying to pay our bills.
Tweek: What have you and the people of the DRC been doing lately?
Dr. Watson: I’m taking some “down-time” to recuperate after the rude awakening from a decade-long dream. So for now, I’m currently working with Cyan full-time. The others have gone on to various projects at various companies.
Tweek: Did you decide to take Yeesha’s Journey and, if so, how did you find it?
Dr. Watson: I did take her first journey. When I reached the end, I spoke with her at length, and have since taken other journeys that she’s led me to.
Tweek: How did you feel about all the factions that appeared in the Cavern, i.e. The Third Path, The Great Tree etc.?
Dr. Watson: Honestly, I was too focused on the restoration itself to pay much attention to the various factions at the time, so I really cannot comment on them. I had imagined that we had a much longer time to get to know them after the frenzy of efforts in trying to open the cavern for everyone had settled down a bit. Unfortunately, the frenzy calmed down in a completely different way than I’d anticipated, so that didn’t happen.
Tweek: I’d just like to say thank you for taking the time out to answer some of our questions - it is most appreciated.
Dr. Watson: I’m glad to be of assistance.
(Carlsbad Cavern, NM - January 25,2007) What do you do when you stumble upon a 10,000 year old civilization buried several miles beneath the Earth and find that the civilization had the ability to write links to new Ages?
“You find a way to fund its restoration,” laughs Cate Alexander, the woman has done just that: procured funding and provided leadership to the group of four individuals who are currently in charge of just such a task.
Adding more pressure to the already daunting job is the fact that thousands of people from around the world have felt a supposed “call” to this ruin, and, as a result, are flocking to the cavern. More are arriving every day. If that weren’t enough pressure, the underground cavern was opened over two years ago to the public and ended up shutting down after their initial funding ran dry, resulting in the removal of most of its visitors and the disappearance of the leader of the Council, Dr. Richard Watson.
“No one said it was going to be easy,” offers Cate. “But what would life be without a challenge?” It’s a challenge Cate Alexander is looking forward to. Those coming to the cavern of D’ni are expecting things to do, places to visit, and people to see. Though some have expressed doubt that the organization currently in charge has the resources to accomplish their wishes, Cate promises new things for the future.
“This is a tremendous task, the hardest I have ever worked on. I’ve been watching Dr. Kodama, Dr. Sutherland, Mr. Engberg and Mr. Laxman for some time now, and I’m convinced that with the resources I am putting together, with this team of people leading the way, and with a community of visitors willing to adapt and accept change, D’ni will breathe again.”
Miss Alexander started her own Venture Cap company, Underground Ventures in June of 1992. Since then, she has established, and provided resources for, several business start-ups and other unique projects around the world. Still, none compare to this one. “I was taken back at first. I had no idea such a ruin existed and I had no idea why anyone would want to recreate it. But, it was a foolish assessment.”
After numerous trips and meetings with the people who have given their lives to the effort, Miss Alexander realized the enormous potential and possibilities the cavern offered. She realized the beauty behind the investment and the importance of making sure things move forward.
So, what exactly will Cate Alexander do differently now that she’s “footing the bill” and taking a more visible role in the D’ni Restoration Council?
“It will take time and there may be some things that people haven’t seen in the past. But, it’s my full intention to make sure that the cavern, the Ages, the structures, the beauty and majesty of it all, lives, and grows to something more than any of us have imagined.”
The rest of the DRC members agree. As stated by Dr. Kodama, “Cate will drive this train and if you don’t like it, I suggest you get off now.”
Nick White is a Restoration Engineer for the DRC, specializing in translation work. Several of the DRC notebooks you can find in the Cavern are his work. He first learned of D’ni back in 1998 and began translating documents taken from Teledahn shortly thereafter. During the first Restoration, he worked closely with Douglas Sharper, translating documents for him. He is currently working with Dr. Kodama on two Ages, one of which is currently nameless. He has answered the questions that you, the explorers, have asked about his experiences, and they are now publicly available.
1: How did you first get involved with the DRC? What kinds of translations have you done in the past, and how has your work changed over the years?
My sister-in-law worked with Engberg at an architectural firm in Portland. I met him on a visit and the rest is history.
I’ve done all kinds of translations but a lot of the King stuff as well as various religious materials. Lately, I’ve been doing some more hands on work although I assume I’ll get to go back into translation again at some point.
2: The Kings’ Notebooks mention dozens of previously-unknown D’ni works, such as “Revealing the Unseen” and “Haunted by Her Cries.” Have you worked, or are you working, on translating these primary sources?
I’ve worked on pieces of some of them, obviously, in order to reference them. But, they are not completed works as of right now.
3: Douglas Sharper once wrote that you were “up for keeping the translation out of DRC’s hands.” What benefit would there be in keeping D’ni information away from the DRC?
I can’t answer why Sharper would say that.
4: There is a sizable explorer community of D’ni linguists. Is there a way these explorers could assist the DRC with translation of D’ni texts?
At this point, I’m not sure that there is.
5: On the 29th of December Dr. Kodama stated that Dr. Watson was the one working on most of the translations, he goes on to say that we should ask you. So, have you heard from or seen Dr. Watson since the DRC shut down?
I have not heard from Dr. Watson since the shutdown. Sorry.
6: I don’t know if this is your specific field, but some explorers have noticed that the floating statue in Eder Delin is not spinning like the one in Eder Kemo. Is there a link between these statues and the “weather issues” mentioned by Cate?
Yeah, that’s not really my field. As far as I know, there is no link between the statues and I’m fairly certain the weather doesn’t have anything to do with either of them.
7: Dr. Watson seemed to focus on the D’ni people and valued translations. Some Explorers think that Cate is focusing less on the D’ni as a people, and more on tangible restoration like Ages and structures. What’s your opinion about this? Has this influenced the kind of work you do?
I think Dr. Watson definitely had a more “personal” view on the restoration and Cate has a more “business” view. That’s not to say that I believe one is better than the other. They both have their faults and their pluses. For me personally, I’m just happy to see the effort moving forward, whatever way it can.
8: On the new DRC website, Dr. Kodama says that the restoration of Teledahn won’t continue without Sharper. If Sharper returns, do you think he’ll continue the restoration of Teledahn?
I don’t think Dr. Kodama says that. I think he says something like “where’s Sharper now?” and I think it’s a pretty sarcastic “where is he now?” I’m not sure if Sharper returns he’ll want to continue with Teledahn and I’m not sure that even if he wants to continue the DRC will let him.
9: What kinds of equipment (surface and D’ni) do you regularly use in your restoration work? How does the DRC get large equipment down into the Cavern?
Well there are too many pieces and types of equipment to go into all of them. I will say the other day I was working with a handheld extruder that was pretty amazing as it formed rock as they it were play-doh. The DRC generally stays away from large equipment since it is such a pain to get down here and there isn’t much need for it anyway.
10: You are working on an unnamed age. Since many of the Linking Books we’ve found don’t have D’ni text on them, where do you learn the names of the Ages the DRC restore?
We do some research and usually find the name somewhere on some document or something. There are some we haven’t been so sure of but we can always at least make an educated guess.
11: There are some new Ages (Dereno, Payiferen and Tetsonot) on the DRC website. Have you been to these Ages already? If so, could you tell us something about the nature of those Ages?
I have been to all of them. They are not big but they are pretty cool. Very different from one another and yet very similar.
12: You recently said that the DRC is in disagreement about whether to release Eder Tsogal. Specifically, you said “I think they just want to make sure ‘nothing happens’.” If the DRC wants nothing to happen, then what exactly are they afraid might happen?
There are so many unknowns in this cavern that it’s almost impossible to think of everything, to prevent everything, to make sure nothing bad happens. Sometimes the more we look at something, the more we walk through it, the more we inspect, the more we find. There are some on the DRC who want to do that as long as possible while others just want to make sure nothing major is wrong and get it out to the people. It’s a philosophical difference with, again, positives and negatives on both sides. And it’s sometimes hard to find a middle ground.
The Firemarble: Hi Cate.
Cate Alexander: Hello.
TF: First off how are things going?
CA: Things are going well, although I had hoped for better. Resources are tight.
TF: You guys are doing well given what you have to work with.
CA: We have been unable to find large amounts of funding and, as a result, do not have the manpower we would like. At the same time, we are releasing new Ages on a fairly consistent basis, pursuing the Guilds, and moving forward as best we can. I would say I’m happy with what we have been able to do although I wish we could do much more.
TF: Yes the Guilds has caused a lot of activity and excitement, chaotic one might say.
CA: Chaotic excitement is better than no excitement.
TF: That is very true, hopefully it will keep many occupied in the weeks to come.
TF: So how was it you found out about D’ni?
CA: Various sources. It’s hard not to know something about it. There was quite a bit of news about it. I became interested after I heard of the shutdown. Seemed it was for financial reasons and I wondered if I could help out in someway. I began trying to put something together shortly after the DRC were forced to leave a few years ago and it took a while to come to fruition.
TF: It is nice to get a second chance at seeing the restoration take place. A lot of people were upset to see the DRC fall on hard times.
CA: It is.
TF: What are your favorite pizza topping, Music, Movies?
CA: Favorite pizza topping? Mushrooms. Favorite music - I enjoy all kinds but mostly lighter, relaxing, mood music. Enya. Favorite movie… Tough. There are so many different types of movies. I greatly enjoyed… what was the name of that movie that came out a few years ago and won the oscar for Best Picture. An epic film. Although the name is not with me right now.
CA: The English Patient. There we go. I asked Victor. I’m always talking about it.
TF: Well I should probably let you get on, I am sure you have much to do, thank you for taking the time out to answer a few questions.
CA: Thank you Tweek. Take care.
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