Jun 5 2019

Starry Expanse Demo Game Guide™

Hey everyone! Stuart & Hollister here, the creators of the April Fools’ demo.

Now that it’s been a couple of months in the wild, we feel we can finally spill the beans on all the secrets in our game.

If you never got to play it, please check it out for yourselves. We’ve even updated it with a Linux build!
(And for those of you with older versions of OpenGL, we hope to release a compatibility update soon!)

We loved watching the community’s progress on our Discord and reading your comments across our social pages. Did you know it took less than 24 hours for some in the community to find the innermost secrets of the demo? That is some serious detective work!

We also transferred over 200GiB for the installers, which is more than 2000 demos total. And most of that traffic was within the first two weeks!

For those who may not have discovered everything, we present our official Starry Expanse Demo Game Guide™


** SPOILERS AHEAD **

Chaotic Good

  1. Our character select screen is probably the first clue that the demo is not what it seems. Choosing Atrus or Gehn will play their respective themes in-game.
  2. Clicking on the viewer at the end of the walkway will animate the dome opening… as a helicopter.
  3. Inside the dome is a cone gun. It is very underpowered so you can behold the cone physics.
  4. Clicking the button at the end of the catwalk extends the drawbridge to the map room.
  5. Clicking the map room control will spawn a pin mesh. Clicking it a hundred more times will spawn a hundred more pin meshes. They also have physics which is wonderful to watch.
  6. There are 4 (it was supposed to be 5 but we didn’t finish the last one 🙁 ) ads that display randomly on the bottom of the screen.
  7. Walk to the end of the Cone Garden to encounter a paywall.

Chaotic Neutral

  1. Jump is linked to score. Reach twenty to jump one more. Fly into the sky.
  2. You can find the Atrus hot air balloon by jumping as much as you can in Spike Garden.
  3. Clicking 25 times on any character’s avatar whilst in-game will trigger a character-specific animation:
    • Atrus spawns donuts which spill onto the walkway because physics.
    • Gehn spawns a Wahrk that jumps over his head. It was supposed to despawn after the animation but to ensure we didn’t miss the April first deadline, it got past our non-existent 2AM QA checks.
  4. Click on the “Buy Gehn Tokens” buttons on the paywall and you’ll be taken to a page on our website claiming we are scamming you (we’re not!). Proceed anyway and you’ll be taken to a page that gives a random hint.

Chaotic Evil

  1. The health suicide bar only works by clicking and dragging. Drag to zero to commit suicide.
  2. Clicking New Game and Back a ridiculous amount of times will slowly break the start screen until you hit the Super Miller Bros version, otherwise known as New Game+ (or NG+ for short).
  3. Once NG+ is unlocked you may play as Rand or Robyn. They have some amazing character art that is designed to glitch out, accompanied with some quality 8-bit ambience.
  4. In NG+, the Wahrk totems will watch you wherever you go.
  5. Clicking 25 times on NG+ character’s avatars whilst in-game will trigger a character-specific animation:
    • Rand spawns a VR headset and exclaims his love for VR.
    • Robyn spawns a Korg keyboard that falls on his head. Physics just adds so much realism to the game, you know?
  6. The spikes in Spike Garden will be covered in cones in NG+ mode.
  7. The paywall at the end of Spike Garden will be a physical “pay wall” in NG+ mode (patent pending).

Thank you to everyone for playing our demo. We had a great time making it, learned some very useful things, and even made some assets that may end up in the final game!
But most rewarding was watching the community come together to find the easter eggs we hid for you. Thank you for making it special!


Apr 1 2019

Starry Expanse: A New Direction

Hello everyone!

We have a very big announcement for you, but first, some backstory:
Since its birth, we had always planned for Starry Expanse to be a 3D recreation of Riven. realMyst had just come out, so free-roam 3D just seemed like the way to go. But as time has gone on, it has become more and more apparent that this may not be the best option for us. Since this realization, we’ve been working hard to steer the project in a direction that we’re all happy with.

This process has led us to identify and remedy many serious flaws in our old structure.
So, we looked at what was doing well. Our favorite games that we actually play. Temple Run, Lords Mobile: War Kingdom Paper Mario, Sago Mini Babies Dress Up, Sand; what do all of these have in common? That’s right, they’re 2D. All successful games ever – and especially modern ones – are embracing 2D, and more specifically 2.5D technology.

So what does that mean for Starry Expanse?
Well, I’m happy to announce that we have assessed and implemented a far superior and more accessible control scheme, and implemented a highly realistic physics system that adds a whole new level of realism to the game.
Additionally, we know how badly the community wants us to use the original actors’ performances in our game.
We heard you, and we’ve listened. 

And best of all? The game will be free to play! The microtransactions are entirely optional, and you can play through most of the first part of the game without even thinking about them!

So, without further ado, we’re proud to announce this far superior direction, fully realized in glorious 2.5D. Utilizing 2.5D gives us such a fresh, unique perspective into the world that’s just not possible in first-person. And development time with this new style is so much easier, that we’ve already been able to work up a small demo! While this is by no means the final product, we think it gives a very good idea of what the finished game will be like!

We’re so excited for you to join us in this new chapter of Starry Expanse, and can’t wait to hear your positive comments about our demo!

Here is the download:

Written by Hollister, directed by Hollister, produced by Hollister, hair and makeup by Hollister, demo created by Hollister and Stuart, credits by Hollister.


Dec 31 2018

Happy New Year 2019

    
    

What a crazy year it has been for the Starry Expanse Project!

We pioneered new methods for both camera matching and browsing the original Riven’s files, welcomed you all to a new community Discord server, and joined in on the Myst#25 celebration.

All of this on top of the most productive year the project has ever had, with a record number of assets completed, and the team over doubling in size!

We’d like to thank all of you who’ve followed us this far on our journey, we greatly appreciate your support. See you in 2019!


Apr 1 2018

Voice Over: A Sound Decision

(Editor’s note to the reader: This is a post we published on April 1st! You can do the math. Enjoy!)

Hello everyone! Hollister the audio guy here. Happy Easter!

As many of you know, the question of how to handle the audio in our game has been a hot topic within the team. We’ve gone back and forth about whether or not we want to just use the original audio, or if we should perhaps see about recreating it, as we are doing with the models.

The cutscenes are a great example of this. We could just use the original audio, but since we’re creating new character animations, the old audio, aside from being considerably low-quality, wouldn’t line up perfectly with the new animations.

So, this has been a point of contention within the team for a while, as everyone has different opinions on it. Luckily, I’m a very driven person, so I took the initiative and went ahead and used your incredibly generous donations to hire some equally incredible voice over talent.

I haven’t talked to the team about this yet, but I’m completely sure they’ll be on-board. Now, onto the good stuff! We’ve already recorded some of the cutscenes, and I’m eager to showcase them.

The first one is the cutscene of Ghen’s friend talking to you in the chamber you teleport to:

Next, we have Ghen himself, delivering his monologue about his son, who I presume is Atreus:

Then onto Catherine’s monologue when you kidnap her from Moeity:

And finally, we decided we can’t leave out the fan-favorite of Ghen singing, so we decided to have our very talented actor record that as well:

I hope you enjoyed this presentation. Stay tuned for more audio updates!
I’m so happy to be such a big part of bringing Myst 2 to life!

Take care,

Hollister
Sound Engineer / Composer, The Starry Expanse Project

April Fool’s!