Forest for the Trees

The process of recreating a game like Riven requires a lot of guess-and-check work. Matt, one of our artists, has been gradually figuring out the exact placement of each tree in the Jungle Island jungle, and the precise shape that the pathway follows. This is a constant struggle for us – the placement and shape of every object is triangulated using the original game renders (and other various resources). We use temporary “blocking” geometry, in order to lay everything out in position, before final assets are modeled.

Here’s a quick shot of an area in the Jungle that’s being “camera matched” currently:Jungle blocking


We’ve shared a few of these images in the past, but the jungle is a seemingly never-ending area! Once the positions of the trees and other jungle objects are locked down and double-checked, another artist will start adding detail and bringing the place to life.

19 Responses to “Forest for the Trees”.

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

    Amazing work…

  • Andross Says:

    Great to see work going ahead. I always love to see these sorts of images, even if they’re not pretty they show what’s happening and how things are progresing.

    Great work!

  • Eric Says:

    I’m still not entirely sure why you guys can’t just use the original data from the original Riven at least for something like knowing the locations of the original trees? I thought I heard you guys got that data. Just curious, thanks!

  • Flake Says:

    Great move !

  • James Says:

    Why would there be an NDA involved? anyone have any ideas?

    • Vincent Says:

      Sensitive subject, apparently, since they removed my comment where I was suggesting a possible explanation.

    • Philip Says:

      Having an NDA is fairly standard in the entertainment industry. It’s mostly just there as a precaution, I would reckon — but sometimes we have to be a bit more cautious than we would like because of the wording of the document. Hope you understand!

  • The green butterfly Says:

    Yay! Update! Nice progress!

  • cjherkeless Says:

    I really love these often updates. Great looking stuff, everyone

  • buddha Says:

    I wonder how you solve that pit where the sword is located, that one was always weirdly hidden. On this screenshot it looks like a big hole. I never really understood the dimensions

    • Matt Says:

      Hi buddha!

      I was surprised as well when I started matching the dagger area. I think in the original game that giant hole hides well due to the strategic camera angles you’re provided and clever positioning of the vegetation. As we flesh out the area, it should look much less obvious.


  • Tony Says:

    Why would there be an NDA?

    • Vincent Says:

      I tried to figure out an explanation but my comment was removed, they didn’t say why or even inform me.

    • Nick Says:

      Hey Tony.

      The NDA covers all communication from Cyan that they haven’t specifically cleared us to share with the public. We didn’t agree to withhold information on the subject of original Riven source files specifically, but it’s all covered by the same agreement.

      I hope that clears up why we can’t talk about certain subjects.

  • Ben Says:

    Amazing. Great work to everyone in the starry expanse project! I’m completely thrilled to see the progress and can only wonder if there has been any talk of a target or approximate time period for this to become available. I know it’s probably quite early to say, and I don’t want to sound to eager either.

  • Dario Says:

    This is going to be great!

    Jungle island has a nice atmosphere and lightning, keep up the good work!


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