Apr 21 2016

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make me a Match

We’ve pulled together a few more images to share with you guys of the work being done by our various art teams.

The ytram cave on Boiler Island

The maglev station on Boiler Island

The beginnings of our wahrk model

The lower level of Survey Island

Not much else to report, other than that things are progressing very well around here, and that we’re looking for more help!


Apr 19 2016

Help Still Wanted!

We have a really incredible team here at the Starry Expanse Project. Our artists are talented, our developers dedicated. Even the guy who runs the blog is alright!

What’s more, we’re always looking to expand our wonderful team. If you’re interested in joining up with us, there are definitely areas where we could use the help. Particularly:

  • Developers, particularly those with Unreal Engine experience
  • and

  • 3D Artists, particularly those interested in our camera matching process.

If you fit one of those descriptions, or if you have some other talent that you think would benefit our project, please please please do not hesitate to get in touch with us! It’s also worth noting that if you’ve previously applied to join, don’t be afraid to say hello again. We’re much better equipped now to handle a large team than we were in the past.

So come one, come all! We can’t wait to meet you.


Mar 17 2016

Matching Pace

It may not have escaped your notice that it’s been a little quiet around these parts recently. It’s been a slow couple of months for the Starry Expanse Team, a lot of us have been very busy with other commitments that pull us reluctantly away from the project. The first quarter of the year has traditionally been a slow period for us, so this wasn’t entirely unexpected. We anticipate things to start picking up again soon, as they always do!

However, we’ve not been idle these past months! We’ve been focusing on a new development philosophy which we think you’ll really appreciate. In the past, we’ve focused on presenting an island, or a section of an island, for each update. This has allowed us to explore our development pipeline and refine our methods, but it has also been a very slow process. Too slow, if you ask us! Now that we’ve mastered our process, from camera-match to final polish, it’s time for a change of tack.

Temple Island

Temple Island

Map Island

Since January, we’ve been working on camera-matching everything in Riven. Yes, everything. Our new goal is to have as much of the game as possible playable by Mysterium 2016, albeit untextured and unrefined. This, as always, is an immense challenge – but we’re just as eager as you to see it finished.


Dec 22 2015

Seven

Seven years ago today, in a half-joking AIM conversation between two friends from Uru Obsession, the Starry Expanse Project began. While at the time we were absolutely getting in over our heads, we like to think that we’ve proven our chops by hanging on until we managed to bring together a team capable of accomplishing the insane goal we set for ourselves all those years ago: to make a realtime 3D version of Riven.

And a few months ago, we decided that we would have our first fully complete area of the game done by November, Gehn’s 233rd age. November became December, and now we’re almost done with December, too. It turns out it’s really difficult for perfectionists such as ourselves to call something “complete”. We’re working on that.

Anyway, it’s been too long since we shared our progress with our amazing community, so we thought that in celebration of our seventh year of development, we would show you guys what we’ve got cooking.

While 233 is not yet fully complete (most notably, the exterior still needs work, and our lighting is way off in many areas), we’re really proud of how it’s looking. We hope you guys will like it, too – honestly, you’re the only reason we’re able to continue working on a project of this magnitude under the circumstances that we do. Your continuing support and generosity is what fuels our developers, and we really can’t say “thank you” enough.

Here’s to seven years! We’re still here, we’re still working, we’re going to finish this thing. See you in 2016!


Nov 9 2015

What’s in a name?

As those of you who subscribe to the idea of a solar calendar may have noticed, it is currently November. We recently promised you guys that we would have 233 finished by November, and we still intend to make good on that promise. That said, we have decided to allow ourselves some…uh…let’s call it artistic license with the definition of “November”. That is to say, we will have 233, in its final state of readiness (more or less) before the end of November.

In the meantime, here’s a couple of things that have been improved upon since Mysterium, to tide you over until the big reveal.

Gehn’s timepiece animation is much more realistic, and more accurate to the original.

For reference, this is what it looked like at Mysterium this year.

Gehn’s bed now has a high-detail sculpt, replicating the fabric folds and wrinkles of an actual bed.
Bed Sculpt

And Gehn’s desk gets more gorgeous every day, of course.
Desk Beauty Shot

There’s so much more happening here, and all of it is so close to being ready to show you guys. We can hardly wait!


Oct 15 2015

October Progress

True to our word, we’ve been devoting almost all of our resources here to applying that final layer of polish to 233. While we don’t have that much to announce today, we do have a couple snapshots of some assets that we didn’t quite have ready in time for this year’s Mysterium, now looking much nicer.

The Desk

The Desktop

The new-and-improved floor texture for the cage

New bricks!

The cage lever, no longer a gray checkered mass.

Additionally, we are happy to announce that Vincent, our font artist, has completed the Cyrillic alphabet for our Gehn font. Here’s a page from one of his journals, translated into Russian (thanks to the volunteer translators over at GULP!)

Russian!

And, finally, a few tidbits that can’t be shared as screenshots. We’ve welcomed a bunch of new people to our team since Mysterium, and are working on updating our Team Roster page accordingly. One of our new members, Michael, has been working pretty much nonstop to convert our code to C++ (we had been using Blueprints), which should make things easier to debug in the future, and help everything run faster in the engine.

Hopefully we’ll get another post up before November, but things are so hectic here you may not here from us before our big 233 deadline. See you then!


Sep 10 2015

Goals

Since Mysterium ended, there’s been a lot of reorganization and planning going on here at the Starry Expanse. We’ve brought on a few new members, who we hope will help speed along our development process. To that end, we’d like to announce our new goal: We intend to have the 233rd Age finished by November of this year.

While we’re not entirely sure what exactly will happen in November, we are for the first time dedicating ourselves to fully completing an area. We will, of course, continue to keep this blog up to date in the interim with the latest developments on the project, but we wanted to announce that goal publicly, so you guys could start getting excited now!


Aug 12 2015

Mysterium 2015 Recap

This year at Mysterium (the annual gathering of Myst fans), we gave a presentation demoing our latest work – most notably, Gehn’s 233rd age. We had a lot of fun, and while the age is not completely finished, we’re really proud of our work so far. You can watch the presentation in its entirety here:

We had a lot of fun working on the demo at Mysterium. We have a tradition of continuing to polish our presentations right up until the minute we go on stage. We’re never satisfied!

Texture work in the hotel room Preparing for the demo

 

The area is definitely still a work in progress – for example, in the demo above we had not yet added the textures for Gehn’s desk. We have since added those in, and you can see them in the screenshots below, rendered in beautiful 4K for your viewing pleasure:

Inside the cage

A linking book

The office

The bedroom

The bedroom

(We’re also aware that there are some weird glitches happening in the water, these are an artifact of the rendering process we used to make the screenshots and won’t be visible in the final game)

We set up the demo for Mysterium-goers to try hands-on, and everyone had a good time.

Mysterium demo

Mysterium demo

...uh...

We think it was a really successful Mysterium, and a great year for the project. Here’s looking forward to 2016! Stay tuned as we put the finishing touches on 233, and begin work on our next area.

 


Aug 7 2015

Watch our Mysterium 2015 presentation, live!

We’re kicking off the Mysterium 2015 convention at 2 PM EDT!

Watch the stream, live from Boston, here.

Edit: That’s a wrap! We’ll post a link to the archived livestream if/when one becomes available. Thanks for watching!


Jul 27 2015

See you in Boston…

As has become tradition, we will be attending and presenting at Mysterium this year! If you’re local to the Boston area, swing by the Burlington Marriott next Friday (August 7th) around 2:00 to see our demo! If not, there will be some form of live-streaming video of the presentation, details of which will be posted beforehand.

See you then!