Tuesday, October 28, 2008

VR1 Crossroads - In Memoriam

Back in 1999/2000 I discovered this text-based massively multiplayer RPG game called Crossroads. It was made by a company known as VR1 and was still in beta. By the time I had discovered it though, most of the beta testers had left and it was obvious that even though its developers might have wanted to keep working on it, their parent company was having none of it.

What was up was still quite fairly detailed though. The background for the game was quite unique, players began in a place known only as 'The City' in their chosen faction HQ. In the HQ, you are given a book/journal/message board that informs you of the history of your faction, why it is in the city and some background info on the world. Most factions will tell you that they all used to belong to a larger faction known as The Division. An uber secret organisation with multiple sub-organisations under it that were kept secret from each other and from the existence of the Division.

The Division was run by mysterious beings known as Archons who one day, just as mysteriously, disappeared, causing the break of the division, and the cutting loose of the factions under it.

From there, depending on which faction you join, you are given goals. Most factions want to control places of power which were sources of a substance known as Odyle, others wanted to control the city via its politicians, mobsters and other influential people. Some wanted to do both. And then some wanted to also gain influence over the dreamworld.

Dreamworld? Yes, this game had it all.
When I first downloaded the client for the game I was asked to create a character. The character creation screen was also quite interesting to me. I had never played Ultima or other text based MUDs before this one, so the use of a personality quiz to determine what kind of character you would be was a novelty for me. After answering some questions, I was then asked whether I preferred fantasy or sci-fi. I chose sci fi out of curiosity and was then given attributes that I had to choose from. Each positive attribute added points to a pool and the total positive points had to be balanced out by a negative points. Different attributes had different points associated with them.

I then got thrown into a faction of alien psychics, unfortunately I don't remember the majority of the faction names, and proceeded to explore the headquarters. It was such a fascinating experience. I realised I was the only person in the faction and so was the de facto leader. Assuming this meant I was the bees knees, I stepped out into the world to explore.

As I said earlier, the game was mostly bereft of players by this point so no one bothered me for my first thirty or so minutes while I got familiar with the command and the interface. I guess I should mention the fact that this was the first text-based game I had ever played with sound. The music was simple from what I remember, but it really set the mood of the various areas I went through and was enough of an addition that it immediately catapulted it to the top of text-based games I had played.

After some roaming about I found a place of power. I had been instructed to use the 'sense' command at these places to confirm the presence of odyle. After doing that, all I had to do to collect power from it was to sleep there for a long enough period. To be honest I can't remember whether all of this was int he faction diary or on the noticeboard, but I knew what I had to do when I found one. I then proceeded to sleep and what faced me was another character creation sequence. This time I had to 'mold' my character from dream stuff and it followed a more conventional character creation set up. After completing this I ascended through light and ended up in a central hub in the dream world. It was so cool! The interface changed slightly and the ambient sounds changed to suit the mood. While the city was mostly realistic and had normal locations like book stores, bars, night clubs and offices, the dreamworld had temples and dungeons and castles with fiends in them. I also traded my trenchcoat for a suit of leather armour and a sword.

I fought a few creatures and explored a bit before suddenly I was wrenched out of the dream world and back into the waking one. I think there was a notice in the dream world hub warning dreamers not to stay out too long as you could only sleep for a fixed amount of time (the exact amount was randomised slightly and was also based on the amount of odyle one had accumulated) and if you weren't in a special zone like the hub, you would lose all the items you had gained in the dream world. The experience taught me to pay more attention to the rules of the world. I dusted off and left to explore the world more before logging off for the first time.

I was hooked.

I proceeded to play the game solid for about 4 - 5 months religiously every day. It also didn't help that I was having a bit of a depressing time in real life and took the first chance I could to excape from it, but the game was really that good. I got attacked a couple of times by rival factions, re-created my character a couple of times and settled on a faction called the Jactara. I became faction head there too since there was no one else and started mapping the city's underground. Hunting down places of power and making sure that one was safe there (as other players could wake you up if they found you) was quite exciting and addictive in its own right, but finding out about the world and what happened to the archons was even more interesting. The writing was quite good from what I remember and all the players in the game were very reluctant to reveal which faction they belonged to although we sometimes shared information about pieces of the story we were able to figure out from our faction's information and our own investigations.

There was also the tussle for influence over the city as you could bribe NPCs to spy for you or just to gain power over them, thereby increasing your influence. This was easier to do, but for a more permanent solution, the best thing was to find a bit of blackmail material on the NPC in question. I was never sure whether they used to spawn in random places or just occurred in one place, but the idea was that blackmail items were unique and so only one player could have them giving them complete control over that NPC until someone else could get that item from them, and there were loads of hiding places.

The dream world also had its own rules as well and items to find, creatures to slay and so on. I became quite adept at sleeping and even learnt some spells that helped keep me asleep for much longer than normal so that I could explore.

There really was so much to do in the game and it was nowhere near finished. There were mystical factions, a faction made of dreamworld inhabitants, psychic factions, alien factions, a super hero faction, and a Men In Black-style faction called D12 (Division 12), which was the only faction to my knowledge that possessed a dossier on all the other factions and the most information about the archons. They were also one of the few factions that could actually kill a player for good.

Normally if you lost in combat your character would be knocked out and you would end up in the dream world. You could then be looted. There were no experience points in the game per se and so you might lose some odyle points, but your influence would remain intact so long as you had your blackmail items and so on. But, if D12 or one of the other factions that had kill requisitions (like a psychic faction called the panopticon) gave one to one of their players, they could kill your character. This did not mean game over however. Your character would instead get stuck in the dream world, never waking up. I don't know what would happen if you then died in the dream world however. It was possible to make it back to the city though if you could break into the dream inhabitants faction HQ and steal a body from there which gave you other abilities.

The game was really awesome and the developers had not yet implemented all the other factions or a lot of the skills or quests or finished areas. A lot of mobs were absent or present in an unfinished form, but it was already very engrossing. The few people who remained were a diehard bunch who still explored the world and had fun griefing one another from time-to-time. Unfortunately, VR1 then announced that it would not be continuing development on Crossroads (I think they couldn't find a publisher or their publisher told them not to continue), deciding instead to focus on more traditional videogames like Nightcaster as well as an mmorpg that was cancelled as well called Lost Continents.

While the forums were still up, some of the players were asking if VR1 or their publisher would be willing to sell the IP to them along with the engine so that they could continue developing it. Even creating a thread on text-based MUD company Skotos' forum asking the company to approach VR1 about purchasing the game. After a while of following the ever dwindling community I gave up on ever seeing Crossroads again. Now, I am not sure whether they even exist any more as a company. I have tried googling them and checked wikipedia but there's no link to a website or anything else. And their former web address is up for sale so who knows?

For a very long time it was the only mmorpg I had seen that had such an interesting setting and backstory. I really hope that games like The Secret World can sate on my yearning for playing in a world inspired partly by HP Lovecraft, contemporary conspiracy theories and a healthy heaping of mystery.

For more information about VR1's Crossroads, you can check out this really nice article on the game here, a press release discussing its then pioneering use of direct music can be found here , and here's an interview with one of their leads discussing Lost Continents.

EDIT: Just found out that they merged with Jaleco USA to form Jaleco Entertainment. No offense to VR1 Entertainment or Jaleco at all, but really? From Crossroads to this? I wonder whether the original designers behind Crossroads and Lost Continent left or are the ones behind the games on the jaleco site as well...

EDIT 2: Also, a link to one of the original designers of the game over on IGN. He also apparently worked on Lost Continent too.

32 comments:

Brandon said...

I know exactly what you mean. I've never found a game that drew me in like VR1 Crossroads. I played as one of the dreamworld factions. What was your name in game?

Mine was CreatorVega, maybe you saw me around.

Doug said...

Yes what was your name, I'm suprised to glimpse through this and see some accurate information about the months and years after crossroads end... Such sad times indeed.

It's very good to see you again Vega. Perhaps you can contact me on AIM: aZIGperfectfailure3 or Gmail: xZIGmethylenex@gmail.com (Take off every ZIG!)

I'd like you both to know I did start working on a sort of recreation of crossroads in recent past. And it could be very promising, if a storyline was reimagined for it, and the mechanics as well. It is very limited and as alpha as it gets right now, however there is a sleep and wake command, and I began work on things like influence and hermetic magic, in very simple manners.

The game really needs a database rehaul, to use sql rather than plain text files. However it is scripted in python, and as I return and perfect the c++ engine that drives it, downtimes will be almost unnecessary.

Unfortunately the project has been dormant a few months as I have been in the process of starting a new job, that for once involves programming!

I'd love to hear from you guys, getting some encouragement to start the project up again would help greatly.

By the way I went by the following names in order of chronology:

Chaos Fighter
Subterfuge
Sanctus / Asanctus

Doug said...

Grr I guess my post didn't go through.

Great to see the legacy lives on. Good to see you again Vega.

I used to go by the following names in order of chronology:
Chaos Fighter
Subterfuge
Sanctus/Asanctus

I believe my forum name was always subterfuge.

Anyway, I started work on a recreation. It's pretty rudimentary currently, and because of warnings from the douche-bag keith baker, I've decided it would be logical to reinvent some of the story and game mechanics... Those that essentially reconnect the dots between the historical and sci-fi themes that no one could possibly claim were IP.

The game needs a database rehaul from text-based storage to SQL. Logic is scripted with python, although due to the nature of the game there's still some times when changes cannot be made without a restart, although those times would grow less and less as the engine becomes more stable. Eventually all changes can occur within the scripting and can occur while the server is live.

The project is currently dormant, as I have just started a new job and it too involves programming, so my time is a little strained. I'd appreciate some encouragement though, and would love to show off its current state to anyone that wants to check it out.

You can contact me on AIM: aperfectfailureZIG3 or GMAIL: xZIGmethylenex@gmail.com

(Take off every ZIG!)

Yegwa said...

Sorry for the late response and approvals for the comments. I have moved the blog to a new host at www.somekillgiants.comso I tend to forget to look over this one from time to time.

Thanks for reading and commenting both of you. Hm, I am trying hard to remember what name I used on Crossroads,it was either Ivwri or Phlebas. I remember running into both of you in the game, but I certainly was not one of the more famous people on the game. I am not sure, but wasn't it you Subterfuge that used to be in Jactarah with me when we went around breaking into people's apartments in the game and terrorisingone of the heads of a magic guild in the undergroundtunnels by making it all dark? Either that, or I dueled you from night-time to sunrise and you were in the viking/martial arts guild? I know I know that name very well...

So glad to hear that you were actually able to start working on a version of Crossroads, every time I play any text-based MUD I always think about it and how much cooler it was than anything else, both in setting and so on. Once my internet is more stable, I would be glad to help with any of the writing or story development if you are interested/need the help.

Copy & paste these comments to the new website so that we can continue the conversation there.

Keith said...

Hey!

This is Keith Baker. Randomly coming across this post, I wanted to thank Yegwa for the initial post. Crossroads meant a great deal to me. I and my friends sank a great deal of time and love into it, and it's very frustrating to me that it never came out. So it means a lot to me to see that people remember it fondly.

With that said, I was slightly taken aback by Doug's comment about "warnings from the douche-bag keith baker". Doug, if I came across as a douche bag in anything I said to you, I apologize. I'd love to see people playing Crossroads. But the fact of the matter is that it's not in my hands. My friends and I created it. I put three years of my life into it. But it's not my game or my IP. Legally, it's owned by Jaleco. I CAN'T provide any kind of legal blessing to a replication of it, and a direct duplication would place you in danger of persecution not from me, but from Jaleco. They might never find out. They might not care. But if they did, it wouldn't make a lick of difference what I thought about it. So it means a lot to me that you enjoyed Crossroads and would like to do something like it, but you're on safer ground doing something similar. So I just want to make sure you understand that if I'm giving you "warnings", they aren't of any action on my part; it's simply that I have no power to provide my blessing or protection to any reuse of Crossroads material.

Beyond that, it is the case that good friends of mine put a lot of time and energy into Crossroads. If THEIR work was being reused DIRECTLY, I'd want them to be recognized for what they'd done. But if it's just something inspired by the same sources... something "that essentially reconnects the dots between the historical and sci-fi themes that no one could possibly claim were IP", that's completely different.

So I really didn't mean to come across as a "douche-bag", Doug. I'd love to see a game like Crossroads out there. I'd love to see CROSSROADS out there. It's just not something I have the ability to authorize - hence that warning. But I really do wish you the best of luck in doing something similar, and if I came across otherwise, you must have caught me on a bad day.

Yegwa said...

Hiya Keith! Wow, so cool that you posted a comment. I would just like to say 'thank you' again to you and the other designers that worked on Crossroads. It really entertained me and inspired me a LOT and it is not often that one finds a videogame that does that.

I hope Doug does read and accept your explanation on your reasons for your warning, which I understand of course.

Are you still working on any rpgs? I was wondering whether you would be interested in doing an interview for my blog some time in the future?

The url is now www.somekillgiants.com by the way.

Doug said...

The funny thing is, I really did understand you when you said that... I guess it's left over distress from a day when I was really disappointed in the turn of events...

I understand your position Keith, I guess it just came off as you cannot reproduce anything like crossroads.

Maybe one day when I've had the chance to actually give my new project the TLC it needs, we can see you around on it, maybe even make some rooms or work with the storyline a lot.

Honestly the toughest challenge is recreating everything without shadowing Crossroads too much. It is such a vivid memory when I start to design things...

One question, does Jaleco even exist anymore?

Otherwise, I would love to pay tribute, and would not at all mind the login screen paying tribute to the game that inspired it.

At this point I believe any content will be extremely similar in the non-fiction aspects (names and such) but all the lines that connect the dots will likely be renamed, if for no reason other than they are lost to my memory...

I'd like to apologize for my choice of words. I respect you and your work Keith, and I wish you good fortune in the future.

Keith said...

Yegwa - I am not currently working on any computer RPGs. After leaving Jaleco, I created the Eberron Campaign Setting for Dungeons & Dragons, and I've mainly been focused on tabletop games and novels since then. However, I did some dialogue work on Everquest II and DC Online, story work on the RTS Dragonshard and on the upcoming Jumpgate: Evolution, and I was lead designer on LEGO Universe for a year. So I'm keeping my hand in. Currently I'm traveling around the world running D&D in exchange for couch space - at the moment I'm in Croatia. I'd be happy to do an interview sometime, though the next month is pretty crazy for me.

Doug - I understand your frustration and accept the apology. Honestly, I don't know what's become of Jaleco or legally what that means for their IP. We didn't part on the best of terms - I quit when I realized what was going to happen to Lost Continents - so I didn't maintain any contacts with them. I really appreciate your love of the game and what you're trying to do, and time permitting, I'd love to contribute some rooms or ideas to your final project - feel free to keep in touch. My warning was simply based on the fact that as I know nothing about what's up with Jaleco, I don't know what they or their heirs MIGHT do... and again, we didn't part on great terms.

In any case, thanks to all of you for sharing your memories of Crossroads - it means a lot to me.

-Keith

Jeff said...

For what it's worth, I still see what comes up on search for crossroads on occasion.

Keith,

Thank you for your work on this game... it still holds many fond memories... I haven't had much time for computer games of any sort in many years, but would pick up crossroads again without hesitation if I were able...

For any old players who come across this... post a comment with your character name if nothing else... I'd love to know who's still alive... if not perhaps we can find a vessel from... hmmm... was in Guardians of the Sacred Refuge?... definitely one of the Endymian factions... really been a long time...

Hope all is well,
Zanfib

Yegwa said...

Wow! The legendary Zanfib posted a comment. :-)

It has been a while, knew you ingame by reputation. Would really be nice if the game was to come back in some form or another. I also wouldn't mind writing a few rooms and backstory info.

Thanks for stopping by man.

Doug said...

Hey Zanfib!

Weren't you the Ebon Forge leader?

I just remember Clear wasn't able to ever get enough influence to overthrow you. LOL

Anyhow, due to circumstances, I can't publicly host the server off of my machine. I can do some testing locally but that's about it... And it's quite lonely testing a mud by myself! :P

Currently I have too many projects for my own productivity's good...

Work = ASP Websites
Brother = PHP Website
AMD = Real-Time Procedural Planet Generation
Friend = Recording his album
Freetime = non-existant!

Haha, so anyhow. I need a little motivation to try and squeeze in time for the game. Certainly this blog entry is motivating! But not being able to let you guys explore or write rooms or anything is too much to take!

Does anyone want to pay for a virtual private server, or have a linux server I can ssh into and push the server program to? Also one of the major changes I need to make is implementing a SQL server back end. I would like to do so before room development is started. Of course I also need to provide us with a more productive manner of programming rooms.

Anyhow, please discuss these dilemmas, and/or beat me over the head with a lead pipe and tell me to to hurry up and make time already!

Jeff said...

You may or may not want to allow the next few posts to go through (or copy out the text and not have it as comments if you prefer)... it's definitely copyrighted material... I did receive permission to post this as well as a ton of other stuff I collected from the game from VR-1, but who knows what Jaleco will care about if they care at all...

Perhaps, if I can get my act together, I'll put back up what I had of my Crossroads web site as a tribute of sorts and see how long it takes me to get a cease and desist letter... I was looking around some backups, and there's a lot of fun stuff there... although, sadly, not as comprehensive as what I had once hoped.

Be Well,
Zanfib





History and Backstory



The Aresi
This tale begins with a civilization called the Aresi, a lost culture that thrived thousands of years ago. Most who know of them believe the Aresi were an alien race that came to Earth to perform research they considered too dangerous for their own world. The Aresi sought to manipulate Odyle, a psychoactive force that permeates all matter and has the power to alter reality -- a force that lies at the root of magic, psychic powers, and all other supernatural phenomena. In the course of their research, the Aresi scientists tore holes in the dimensional fabric of Earth, opening gateways to the wellspring of Odylic energy -- a realm of spirit now known as the Dreamworld.

The days that followed were the zenith of Aresi civilization. Aresi scientists studied the power of the Od force, establishing systems that would form the basis of hermetic magic for millennia to come. They probed many mysteries, from the transmutation of matter to the secret of eternal life. But something went wrong. Time has devoured the details, and the true fate of the Aresi may never be known. Some believe that they destroyed themselves in a vicious civil war. Others conclude that the mystical force the Aresi were studying was too powerful to be controlled, and eventually consumed those who tampered with it. Some allude to the legends of the great flood, or the destruction of Atlantis. Whatever the cause, the civilization of the Aresi vanished like a shadow in the sun. But the results of their experimentation remained. Earth was permeated with Odylic energy. Fantastic feats of magic were possible. Bizarre creatures drifted through the mystic portals, inspiring myths and legends. And from the ruins of the Aresi cities, there emerged a handful of immortals: the Archons.

Jeff said...

The Archons
The Aresi had been on the verge of a breakthrough when disaster struck. Their research into the secret of everlasting life had been fruitful. But they had only attempted the process on slaves; until they were completely satisfied with the results, they did not wish to put one of their own at risk. And while their accomplishments were significant, they were less than satisfactory. The Odyle infusion did not confer perfect immortality: immunity to disease, freedom from injury, or stasis from the effects of time. Instead, it provided the subject with literal immortality: the inability to ever truly die. An Odyle immortal or revenant could suffer pain, could starve, could waste away from disease, and even appear to die from old age. But afterward, the revenant's body would slowly regenerate, eventually restoring youth and life… and then repeating the slow process of death all over again. With each death, the process of restoration would require slightly more energy.
A total of thirty-six of these immortals survived the destruction of Aresi civilization. New revenants would be born over the centuries, created by chance when a child was conceived on a place flooded with Odyle energy. But these first immortals -- the oldest of the old -- these were the Archons.
For centuries, the Archons wandered the ruined world of the Aresi, reveling in the glory of eternal life and the magic of the mythic age. It was a time of marvels; the source of legends and myths that would endure for millennia to come. With centuries to study, the Archons became the greatest sorcerers and heroes of the age. But all things come to an end, and so it was with the time of magic. The end came when one of the Archons was drawn through the gates into the Dreamworld. This was Endymion, and his tale is told elsewhere. He fought a great battle in the world of dreams, and this battle shook the very foundations of reality. The force of this struggle shattered the gates that the Aresi had opened and Odylic energy ceased to flow into Earth. While the remaining energy would take centuries to disperse -- and never disappear completely -- the age of legends had ended.

Jeff said...

The Archons (Continued)
In truth, few people noticed the changes. Magic carpets and ferocious dragons became legend and lore. But the Archons, who had reveled in the age of magic, were now without power. Despite their age and knowledge, they no longer had the supernatural abilities that had given them the status of demigods. They retained their immortality, but with the fading Odic field it could take years -- even decades -- for a resurrection. And in that time, too much could change. The Archons needed to find new sources of power and security.

Some sought to master new forces by studying the sciences and philosophy. Others used politics or religion as their tools, manipulating emperors or prophets from the shadows. A handful clung to the study of paranormal power. Three times during the course of the millennia the Archons weakened the barriers and brought a new influx of Odylic power. These were the high ages of magic and myth, the genesis of many of the mystic cabals that still exist today. But though they managed to weaken the barrier, the Archons could never pierce it completely. . . and the power of the supernatural would inevitably fade.

This hidden war continued for centuries with no clear victor. Then toward the end of the eighteenth century, something changed the relationship between the Archons; something that would alter the flavor of the war for centuries to come.

Each Archon sought to develop a lasting power base; something to return to after a long deathly sleep. Countries, churches, cults, and colleges; all were tools of these hidden schemers. But over the centuries, ennui set in. Enmities arose over real or imagined slights, as the bored immortals sought a distraction from their shackles of eternal life. And so the shadow war began, a vast human chess game using the world as a board. Crusades and persecution were seen by all, though the true agendas were rarely recognized. But many battles were less public -- mystical curses, economic duels, and the bloody struggles of cults and cabals. It was a crucible for conspiracy. Many modern factions were born in this struggle, tools created and lost or discarded by the founding Archon. Each group has its own tales to tell, and the complete story may never be known.

Jeff said...

The Division
The discovery that brought the Archons together is one of the great mysteries of the age. Did they find a way to reopen the gates of the Aresi, to restore the power of magic? A means to transcend the dreadful cycle of life and death that held them imprisoned?

Whatever it was, it was sufficient enough to unite the feuding Archons. But putting an end to the shadow war was not a simple task. While each Archon had a significant sphere of influence, over the centuries the secret war had spawned dozens of spin-off conspiracies, secret societies with no true knowledge of their origins. In addition to settling their personal scores, the Archons needed to ensure that none of these upstart factions would interfere with their schemes. And so the immortals pooled their resources and drew together their followers into the grandest conspiracy the world has ever known: the Division.

From its inception, the purpose of the Division was to let the Archons accomplish their mysterious mission without disruption. But while the Archons needed to make certain that their organization was powerful enough to crush all opposition, they also needed to ensure that the Division itself would not become a threat to their schemes. To accomplish this goal they divided the organization into dozens of highly specialized arms, each under the control of a single Archon. Different arms would handle media manipulation, occult research, intelligence and counterintelligence, and so on. These groups knew virtually nothing about the size or scope of the entire organization, relying on the guidance of the Archons so as to not conflict with other arms. It is from this philosophy that the organization draws its name: "…the Division of power… to serve, not threaten."

The original agents of the Division were drawn from the ranks of secret societies already in service to the Archons. As the organization grew over the decades, it would become an invisible nation. In hidden cities new generations of children were raised as members of the Division from birth. Using wealth, treachery, technology, and the limited supernatural powers available in this mundane age, the Division slowly seized control of the world. In the shadows, the Archons watched and waited. They had no need to use the power they had taken. All they sought was to prevent any other force from threatening their plans, as they carefully worked their way towards this secret goal.

Then at the end of the twentieth century, inhabitants of the hidden Division cities began to report collective dreams and a tremendous increase in supernatural phenomena. It seemed that the structure of reality was breaking down. The scholars of the Division came to the conclusion that the gates of the Aresi had reopened: Earth was again in contact with the Dreamworld. Researchers called this the Crossroads Effect, for these cities now seemed to be crossroads between dimensions. But the Division soon had other problems to contend with; for the Archons had disappeared.

For a while, the Division ran on its own momentum, without the guidance of the Archons. But slowly cracks began to appear. Although they did not know of one another's existence, Division arms were accustomed to receiving support from other branches of the organization. The Archons worked to ensure that the different arms did not accidentally come into conflict with one another. Without this careful guiding hand, support networks began to flounder and operations break down. Two of the most influential arms were able to piece together something of the structure of the organization, and these groups began to work to restore order to the Division.

But the damage had already been done. Dozens of lesser conspiracies had seized the opportunity to infiltrate the Division cities. Some sought the secrets of the Division. Others were drawn by the Crossroads Effect itself; this terrible action had alerted mystics across the world and sent ripples throughout time and space.

And so the game begins.

Yegwa said...

Thanks for that information Jeff, I decided to let it go through as you can see and if Jaleco is particular about it then I can take it down.

I have been meaning to move this discussion to the new web url and should be able to do that later on today. Will leave a link to it on here once I am done.

Thanks again all for the interesting responses.

Doug said...

I had a lot of stuff saved up. We extracted the graphics from the packaging at one point... Could never get my head around the midi music files... Found the instrumentation but I could never even extract the intro song or anything. Likely I would have to manipulate the client's dll files to rebuild an archiver for the client data files... So I never went that far with it.

Flagg was actually my roommate for a while, I know he has a copy of everything somewhere.

A long time ago I even had a photoshopped up set of screenshots of the grimoires.

Anyhow, gotta be up early, tootles!

Clear said...

Of all the times to google Crossroads. Nice to see it hasn't been forgotten :D. I still miss that game. Nice to see some old faces here, too.

Keith, if you're still reading the comments section, you guys did a fantastic job with XR, thank you so much. It was a great experience.

Doug said...

Clear! It's been so long. I miss talking to ya!

Yegwa said...

Hi Clear, doubt you would remember me (seeing as I cannot for the life of me remember what name my character went under), but you were on of the people that showed me around the dream world and showed me the ropes.

So nice to see that I am not the only person that remembered the game and still did searches for it.

Also, I have finally migrated all the comments to http://www.somekillgiants.com/2008/10/28/vr1-crossroads-in-memoriam/ so we can continue the conversation there.

Velkyn said...

Hey all,

Was doing some research for an article I'm writing; I'm now an amateur blogger, and I decided to search for Crossroads on a whim. What a surprise to find this post and so many recent replies!

I went by many names, but the one people will remember me by is Divyendu, most likely, as one of the dreamworld factions, can't remember which one now... Skimming this post, I actually remember a lot of your character names.

I remember those days with many fond memories, knowing full well that nothing as interesting as Crossroads will ever exist in the realm of MMOs again. In a way, I'm rather glad that this is so. I'd rather remember it as it was.

Hope all is well with my fellow residents of 'The City'.

-Divy

drdeleto said...

Wow. The only thing that surprises me more than seeing a post on the Intarwebs about Crossroads is seeing that it's so RECENT.

I don't have much to say, really, but that it warms the cockles of my heart to see some folks discussing the world that Keith (with extremely modest contributions by myself) created so long ago. The volumes of great setting material in that game--the history, the factions, all that stuff--are a testament to the boundless creativity of Mr. Baker.

I'm glad that a handful of folks got a glimpse of it, if in a neglected state. It's a shame that no one ever got a glimpse of what was planned by Keith for Lost Continents. Alas, poor Chimpatron, we hardly knew ye!

-Chris Floyd

redneck said...

I used to love this game. I cant even count how many hours of sleep i lost playing this game.

I cant remember which character i finally ended up using. I think it was skullface jones, but i cant remember the nickname i used.

i was also varg vikiernes, glen danzig, euronemous, and a host of other characters i tried as i was learning how the game worked.


I remember zanfib helping me though the "uncharted" parts of the dream world to find redblade, or whatever his name was.

this thread really brought back some memories. mostly of me wasting time.

KaY said...
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KaY said...

i was addicted to crossroads too as it was my escape from the reality arond me. my name was KillJoy, Odd├čaLL, BlacKRaVeN and something else i went by. i was in a fac that had the tree for the symbol and became head of the one fac that ruled in the dream world.

i still have a lot of stuff i had written down as fas as character class abilities and stuff. if you're still doin the recreation, i'll try to dig it out for you. i also have the original program on disk somewhere.

if you'd like, email me hells_mullet@yahoo.com

Smashed said...
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Subterfuge said...

Hey guys, head on over to http://somnium.homelinux.net/forum/ and we can continue this conversation!

roger said...

Hello,

Ive been working on my own little piece of crossroads nostalgia. Doug gave me the extracted image files for Trin a looong while back and I finally got around to building a game with them. it is entirely playable, though I haven't stamped out all the edge cases with all the wild card situations.

Keith left VR-1 before it split up. I kept track of it for a while after. Its a pretty twisted tale!

VR-1 ditched gaming, and became Circadence, PCCW Japan got the rights to VR-1, but mainly because they were interested in Conductor for gaming applications, while Circadence maintained Conductor for business applications. No one I talked to at Circadence back in the day knew or cared if Crossroads was actually included in the deal. For all they know, they still own it.

Or maybe it went to PCCW, which has merged and split so many times since then, that I seriously doubt anyone in any of the 9 different companies that could have inherited it even knows Crossroads ever existed.

I am in the process of releasing Trin as an app. Keith, if you read this, contact me via jolyrojr at gmail.com so we can discuss what credits are due.


oh,my main was a panopticon named Johnathan Goldmund, my guide character was jolyrojr :) hi zanfib!

Jesse said...

Hawkeye/Quest50 here. I'd love to play a game like Crossroads again. I can't imagine the sheer number of DAYS I spent playing that game.

I found an old envelope i had stashed away years ago that had the URL for Crossroads and my login information, as well as a map on how to get to the fiery sword in the dream world, haha!

Oh, and Zanfib... You're a freaking legend.

TWiG said...

I was Tom Magnum, head of The Agency.. I think I still have some hand drawn maps of the underground areas somewhere. TwigsJoint.com to find me on G+

Subterfuge said...

Once again reminding everyone that there is a forum where we can all keep in touch. Previously there were issues with registration but I have worked that out by removing the need for email confirmation. (Haven't set up email properly and won't until I eventually get a new domain)

I recently visited Circadence and talked to Peter-Christian Olivo's Executive Assistant. I'm awaiting further contact from Peter himself. Apparently he still talks to PCCWJ so there's some hope to at least find out more of the fate of our beloved game.

Please join us on the forums where I also detailed my experience in Boulder last week.

http://somnium.homelinux.net/forum/

Brandon Stone said...

Anyone still around? I did my every other year google of VR1 Crossroads and stumbled on this blogspot again.