Life after Mysterium

Every year after Mysterium, the team takes a bit of time off as a breath of fresh air after the mad dash to complete our demo in time for August. That brief period of exhalation has been thoroughly enjoyed by each and every one of us, and it is now safe to say that we’re back to work.

After our success with last year’s goal, we have decided to split our team into three distinct groups. The first group, which is the majority of the team, is focusing on finishing up the Village Basin area that we showed off at Mysterium. This includes completing the unfinished assets as well as fixing any remaining glitches and generally fine-tuning the engine.

Meanwhile, two of our artists are off blazing new trails for the project. We’ve discussed our camera matching process in the past, our technique of getting 1:1 geometry based solely on images from the original game. Matt, our expert camera-matching guy, has already begun to apply this technique to the rest of Jungle Island, which is the first stage in expanding our in-game area beyond the Village Basin. In these screenshots, you can see our progress on matching Gehn’s throne and the upper walkway in the forest (the line overlays are our work)

Camera Matching - Jungle Island

(The image is somewhat high-resolution, may load slowly)

Once areas are fully “matched”, we create very simple stand-in geometry for the area, so in-engine work can begin before the final assets are completed, or even started. The stand-in assets are then replaced, one by one, with final art, until the area is complete. This is the state of the 233rd age currently – it is fully blocked-in, and Kelly, one of our amazing artists, is beginning to create detailed assets, based on the blocking geometry.

Here you can see one of the elements she’s working on, albeit still in an early, unpolished phase:

Gehn's Oven

We’re very happy to be back to work – as nice as a break is every now and then, we all love working on this project, and are excited to be able to show you guys some pretty cool stuff in the weeks and months to come.


43 Responses to “Life after Mysterium”.

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

    First ! Beautiful as always

  • Shawn Says:

    That’s awesome! Keep up the good work, I look forward to this fantastic remake!

  • Flowerpower Says:

    As usual….IMPRESSIVE!!!

  • CatzTF Says:

    Every time an update is posted, my excitement levels triple! :} GREAT WORK!

  • MikeS Says:

    All the new stuff looks great, you guys have made tremendous progress. Very impressive. Quick question though, hopefully this won’t sound too snippy – do you guys believe the switch to Unreal 4 will be the last engine change? I know with a long term project like this, it’s tough when new tech comes out before the project is finished. The temptation is always there to move to the next best thing.

  • Yali Says:

    zib, are you guys still looking for recruits? I was just on Polycount.com today and some of the artists are amazing! Riven is all about texturing and lighting imo and the guys there never cease to impress.

    Also will Robyn Miller let you use his soundtrack? It was one of the best parts of Riven.

    …and by the way I’m still hoping down the road you guys can add an explorable Tay. I think it would be a shame to remake Riven and not correct the biggest fuckup Cyan ever did (well, it was really the lack of development time mind you). Ever since I saw that box have I longed to explore that hive. The same way realMyst had Rime, perhaps the hive could be added after the the initial visit where you regain your trap book. Maybe as some kind of DLC even or maybe an added section of gameplay which requires you to go there to retrieve something for Catherine. Please consider it. I’ve been waiting 17 years to see Riven redone with the hope that we might finally see more of it.

    So far everything looks great!

    • Lee Says:

      +1 on exploreable Tay (and 233), even if it’s just to leave the prison to walk around a bit . I’m really hoping that the 3D movement will allow us to go outside areas that were originally blocked.

      • Yali Says:

        Invisible walls really suck. I took a game design class where the professor said that you should never use a blocking volume or invisible wall to encourage gameplay. Meaning if you don’t want your character going somewhere, block it off with physical objects or a story reason like a crumbled wall. Invisible walls only piss off the player. I’m hoping we can wander more freely around jungle island’s more open spaces and between the trees in the jungle area. It is realRiven after all.

        Oh and thanks for the Tay +1. We’ve waited so long for the possibility of there being something new in Riven let aalone resolving that anticlimax of the Hive that appeared on the friggin box.

    • Trapez77 Says:

      Im against an explorable tay, it could never live up to what we all imagine it to be. And it is a prison after all. And you would also have to have a lot of npc’s walking around. Im all for using the crystal imager to power up the burnt book in ghens lab to have a new age to explore.

    • Graham Says:

      Was Tay originally meant to be explorable but cut?

      • Yali Says:

        Yes, and this is going back to comments Rand and Robyn made many years ago. Essentially there were supposed to be five ages including Tay, 233 and 234. Cyan was already behind schedule by ’96 and decided to scrap that content for time.

  • Mozalbete Says:

    Impressive as always. Making that jungle must be hell. Or maybe not so much once you have some assets you can cover the map with?

    Anyway, I hope UE4 gives you a really good version of the light color contrast and intense shadows

  • The Blue Page Says:

    Will the Original music and sounds from Riven be used in this Remake, without being altered in anyway?

  • Devilin Pixy Says:

    Looking great so far, nice work!

  • Graham Says:

    Looks like Unreal 4 has free educational licenses now for schools.

    https://www.unrealengine.com/education

  • Gorobay Says:

    From http://www.pcworld.com/article/2690711/exclusive-preview-this-is-obduction-cyans-spiritual-successor-to-myst.html: “There’s a very strong The Room-esque presence in Obduction—you can now pick up, rotate, and interact with objects in the environment[…]. “It’s the kind of stuff that you wished you could do in Riven when you’d pick up the stuff on Gehn’s nightstand,” says Anderson.”

    That does sound pretty cool. Will we be able to interact with objects like this in realRiven?

    • Mozalbete Says:

      I think that would only be possible if, after making the game, Cyan colaborated, gave them the system they made etc.

    • Philip Says:

      We actually haven’t decided that yet. Back in the beginning we had concept art for a “detailed object view” that would let the player pick up essentially any object, and rotate it around 360 degrees, zoom in and whatnot…

      My personal suspicion is that Riven just has too many random trinkets (some of which are important, many of which are not) to make them all “inspectable”. If everything was able to be inspected like that, you might start ignoring the important objects because so many of the viewable objects are just function-less.

      An important part of Riven’s design is that the player be directed toward the important bits (i.e. things that help them progress in the game). This was accomplished in the original through careful choice of camera locations, selective interactivity, etcetera. In the more unrestricted environment that is realRiven, we don’t have the ability to force certain aspects of the game like that, so we’ll need to experiment to see what’s workable and what’s not.

      • Jaratomithy Says:

        I personally think that being able to pick up any object (including many useless objects) is a fantastic idea. It would force the player to stop and really think about what they are trying to accomplish.

        I’m sure it would also give the game a whole new level of depth and detail which would make it even more immersive than it already is.
        But that’s just me, I’m no game designer so I can’t really argue.

  • mark Says:

    If Cyan could provide the team with all original models used in Riven somehow it could save you tons of time! I’m not sure if it’s plausible but certainly worth negotitating.

  • Ethan B. Says:

    Have you guys thought of possibly starting a kickstarter?

  • Flake Says:

    October update ?