Setting Phasers for ‘Stun’

In the past, we’ve shown you bits and pieces from almost every area in Riven. We kicked things off with an early version of Temple Island. We spent two years demoing Prison Island, and last year we showed you an area from Survey Island as well as a rough layout of Boiler Island. Our tactic thus far has been to work mainly on small areas of the game, breaking Riven into bite-size chunks that we could easily achieve.

Still, there are a couple of major areas of the game that we’ve avoided in the past, and one sticks out like a sore thumb.

Notice anything missing?

Notice anything missing?

Well, for Mysterium this year, we decided to throw our old strategy of playing things safe to the wind, and set about creating Jungle Island. And really, what better way to put our new engine through its paces than by throwing the single most complicated area of the entire game at it?

Our efforts are being concentrated primarily in the village basin, where there are a few different areas being worked on at once. We’re going to keep you guys up to date as things progress, but we thought we’d start the show & tell off with one of the most iconic objects from Riven, the village hut.

knock, knock

knock, knock, knock

It’s worth mentioning that these are screenshots from within UDK. We’re kind of in love with the way UDK handles light and shadows, and we’re pretty sure you will be, too.

(this one is in Maya, not UDK, but it's still really cool)

We have all 38 huts modeled and in place, and now that the materials for the first hut are complete, it will be a simple feat to put the finishing touches on the others.

We intend to continue with small updates like these throughout the development of the village basin area, so stay tuned!


21 Responses to “Setting Phasers for ‘Stun’”.

Team members' usernames are in red.
  • rivenwanderer Says:

    Oh man, I can’t wait to see this. Looking lovely so far!

    I’ll be pretty impressed with UDK if all the polygons from the individually-modeled walkway logs don’t slow things down 🙂

  • ywingdriver Says:

    This is amazing!

    Thank you for the updates. You all do extremely quality work and it’s nice to see progress on this scale!

    So out of wonder, are you able to transfer models used in Unity to this new game engine? For example, Prison Island? Or does all work need to be done from scratch?

  • Imonobor Says:

    That looks amazing guys, keep up the good work!
    It would be awesome if you kept us in track with your progress with weekly updates or something 🙂
    Wish you all the best

  • Ufo-3D Says:

    Sweet! Glad you lost almost nothing.

  • Anthony Says:

    I’m stunned, indeed.
    Switching to UDK was the best decision you guys have made since the project was first conceived. I’m really excited to see such level of detail especially with the log walkway. And boy, that lighting is gorgeous!
    I have realMyst Masterpiece Edition and comparing that product to yours, there’s just a lack of love and polish compared to this project

    Speaking of compromising, I’m happy to see realRiven in its full glory if it means upgrading my computer. Pump up those polygons!

  • Gloix Says:

    Looking pretty good! 😀

  • raytay286 Says:

    I’ve used UDK pretty extensively in the past, and I must say that lighting is probably one of the best parts of the engine. The engine makes it very simple to create realistic lighting but with the depth and options that one would expect from a complex engine. Also, I liked the Kismet visual scripting for simple programming. Are you guys going to write most of the puzzles in Kismet or go with the more powerful UnrealScript for the game?

  • Aniinna Says:

    The level of detail is amazing! Are you going to add new animations to the game as well, like features Cyan wanted to include but couldn’t due to budgetary/time reasons (if I remember correctly, the spyglass in the village lake was meant to follow you as the player moved around the village), or stick to the ones seen in the original game?

    • zib_redlektab Says:

      Our intention is to stay as true as we can to the original game. Additions like the spyglass will need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

      On the one hand, we are obviously huge fans of the series and would love to see the Riven that could have been – that includes things like the moving spyglass and the ability to further explore areas like Tay and the 233rd Age. On the other, we already have a gargantuan task before us simply remaking the game itself, and we don’t want to add to that load unnecessarily.

      On top of that, we are concerned about the possibility of straying too far from the original game, and losing the essence of the game. George Lucas went back and added things to his movies later, and look how that turned out! Sometimes technical limitations are a good thing 😉

      • Anthony Says:

        Animations such as moving blades of grass and trees, more dynamic waves, clouds and wildlife that don’t interfere with the creatures puzzle would be great additions, also!

  • Graham Says:

    How was designing this so overly complicated for you in the past? Couldn’t you just make one hut and copy-paste, or do game engines not work that way?

    • P-K-V Says:

      It’s just that that particular island is so huge compared to the others. The sheer amount of detail to recreate was daunting, so they put off doing it until now. I’m sure they did create a few of the different types of huts and then replicated them until they had 38.
      Nice work guys, these pics look great!

      • zib_redlektab Says:

        Actually – the huts are all unique! At first glance, they appear to be the same, but upon closer inspection, some of them have entrances on the bottom rather than the front, or differently-shaped chimneys, or all sorts of minor little differences. We did our best to examine each one to try to get as close to the original as we could. 🙂

        • Anthony Says:

          I wonder if you can add extra village people running about in the background. But of course, you definitely have to add the ‘5 knocks on the door’ easter egg!

  • Jack Says:

    I’m not sure how much of the movement through the village was a physical limitation and how much of it was a technical one – were there walkways and ladders that we physically could have climbed but that Cyan simply didn’t enable us to do, or did they set it up the design such that the paths we could take were the only ones that were perceivably possible?

    I guess the point I’m meandering to is whether or not you will allow us to walk throughout more of the village! If the villagers could get to the various huts, then surely we should be able to as well!

    • Ben Says:

      I’m pretty sure you could only take the paths that looked possible, if you’ll recall when you scare some of the villagers away on the docks, they run up to the village, and then when you go up, certainly the villagers could get to their huts, but there was “drawbridge” sort of retractions. I could be wrong but I’m pretty sure. Of course there’s a lot of places where jumping over a railing or climbing could easily get you somewhere in real life, but was not made possible. I assume someone will mod the game someday so you can not only do all that, but maybe carry an assault rifle and kill villagers, lob grenades in their huts and other ridiculous things!

  • Travis77 Says:

    I totally with with the george lucas thing, i dont think anything should be added or changed, im really worried about the day and night cycles changing the atmosphere and feel of the game, and i heard the robyn miller interview where he said that it was his main concern, i personally think the idea of day and night cycles should be scrapped because of that and also because it would take a lot of time to focus on that instead of the rest of the game, and it wouldnt nessesarily make it more realistic because riven is another age that could just have an unusually long day, and the reason for not being able to explore tay is because the moitey doesnt trust you enough to let you out of the room and because it is sometimes best to leave things to the imagination, of course you could make the changes optional but it would still take time and focus that could be used to make the core game better, and i also love in realmyst masterpiece edition, how you can bring up the original myst image by holding the shift key, that is definitly something you should implement, because the first thing people will want to do is compare it with the original, myself included

  • Travis77 Says:

    On second thought, it would be cool if you could take the crystal imager off of the tay book and bring it to ghens lab, and put it on the burnt book to explore a whole new age

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