Aug 1 2016

It’s that time of year again!

Upon us in the month of August are potentially many events that may make or break the future of humanity. The most critical of these events, of course, is the 19th annual occurrence of Mysterium (the Myst fan convention). This will be our seventh year presenting at Mysterium, and our show this time is going to be quite the departure from previous years — so be sure to tune in!

We’ll post a link to a live video stream when the time is closer. For now, though, be sure to mark your calendar with the following details:

Date: Friday, August 5th, 2016
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Local Time (MDT / Mountain Daylight Time): 3:30 PM

Time zone conversions for your convenience:
Eastern USA Time: 5:30 PM
Pacific USA Time: 2:30 PM
UTC: 9:30 PM (Friday August 5th)

See you there! And if you’re bored in the meantime, take a look at some content from our previous Mysterium shows.


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.

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!)


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


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!

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!

Jan 26 2015

A Whole New 2015

Well, it’s been a quiet year in the starry expanse, our hometown, out there on the edge of the… wait a second, no it hasn’t! This past year was our busiest yet, with the adoption of Unreal Engine 4, a huge chunk of Jungle Island, a working submarine, and so much more.

But the mania isn’t over. We’re launching into a new year, and in celebration of that we’ve prepared a cup o’ kindness rivaled by none other than Gehn’s journals themselves.

Vincent, our resident font artisan, has been hard at work meticulously studying and redrawing the glyphs found in the diaries of one of the most fascinating villains in MYST history. This is no easy task, but the results have been very rewarding.

The original and recreation of the Gehn font, both amazing, side by side for comparison.

(left to right) The  Starry Expanse re-creation of the Gehn font, compared to the original

The entire lowercase alphabet has been completed for this typeface, as well as all of the uppercase. If you look closely, you can see that some lowercase letters are drawn with just a slightly different pen stroke, or are just a little bit “off.” This is a purposeful effect, to give the journals’ text a human feel, instead of just looking like your standard printing press output. Each of these letter variants had to be hand-sketched. We think it paid off in the end, with certainty.

Variants of several letters in the Gehn font

Variants of several letters in the Gehn font

But what New Year’s celebration would be complete without a cozy rug, hot cups of cheer, and community bonding? That is why it’s our pleasure to announce the brand-new Starry Expanse Community Forum ( — a place where all our fans are welcome to gather for discussions about Myst, Riven, and anything related.

A screenshot of a curious forum posting being composed

The forum is for all kinds of discussion!

Speculations*, cautious optimism, and “fan theories” abound, as well as just general fun and games, we’re hoping this recently added part of the site will be your first stop for questions and answers about the project, as well as the Myst franchise in general. Sign up right now!

Happy new year to all, and may it be the most exciting yet!


* also Speculoos

Aug 1 2014

We’re at Mysterium!

Hard at work

We’re at the Mysterium hotel in Spokane, putting the finishing touches on our presentation on Saturday! The URL for the live stream (both for the other presentations as well as our own) is Be sure to tune in around 1:30 PM tomorrow (that’s Pacific time!) to catch our demo live. If you can’t watch then, we’ll record it as well for viewing later!

And if you’re here in Spokane with us, come talk to us! Most of us don’t bite!

UPDATE: It looks like we’re running a bit behind schedule, we should be up and running by 2:30. Hopefully. Never can tell with Mysterium, unfortunately!

UPDATE 2: Still waiting, sorry!

Jul 24 2014

See You Next Week!

Buffering...We here at 59 Volts are feverishly working day and night to put the finishing touches on our demo for Mysterium next week. Our presentation will be on Saturday, August 2nd, at Cyan Headquarters in Spokane, WA. We’re currently scheduled to start at 1:30 PM, Pacific time.

If you’ll be attending the convention in person, great! We can’t wait to meet you! Our plan is to set up our demo in the con room after our presentation, so that those who make the trek out to Spokane can play around with it a bit.

If you cannot attend Mysterium in person, there will also be a live video stream of our presentation. We’ll post more information about how to access that when we get closer to the day of the presentation.

There’ll be an unprecedented percentage of the team present at this Mysterium (nearly half of us!), and we can’t wait to show you guys what we’ve put together. See you there!


May 27 2014

Tahgemah Re-ko-ah! (Please Help us Translate Riven)

We’re about as good with translations as Gehn’s bumbling servant, Cho. If you speak a language other than English, we need your help!

As we mentioned last week, we intend to localize our game, and we cannot do it without your support. The original Riven was localized into a few languages, but not nearly as many as we would like, and those localizations were often sloppy or contained errors. With this in mind, we have turned to GULP to help us crowdsource our own localization effort! Check out our GULP page here.

GULP is an awesome project started by Lewis Johnston (also known as Orange Haired Boy), with the goal of localizing various Myst-related projects into as many languages as possible. It’s all free, you just need to set up an account and get translating! You can either submit new translations, or vote on translations that have already been submitted.

With your help, we’ll hopefully be able to include many languages beyond just English in our final release of the game.

Update: there were a few issues with signing up, they have since been worked out. Everything should be working smoothly now! Thanks again to OHB for working so tirelessly on the site.

May 7 2014

Down the Hatch

Earlier this year, we announced that our development would be shifting to the Unreal Development Kit. We did move to UDK very briefly, but it turns out the story doesn’t end there. Shortly after we made the transition to UDK, Epic announced the release of Unreal Engine 4, which would outdate and replace the engine we had just switched to. We didn’t want to commit to UE4 until we were absolutely certain that it would suit our needs, but after more than a month of testing, we are confident enough to announce that we will definitely be using Unreal Engine 4 from now on.

Unreal Engine 4 is better than UDK in almost every way, and yet they work almost the same. Thus, upgrading has been a breeze. It’s so pretty, it makes UDK’s graphics look like Uru. And what’s more, it has far more platform support than UDK did – as of today, we are finally able to officially announce the addition of Linux support to our platform roster, as well as SteamOS.

We’ve been working on putting together a demo of what the engine is capable of (and we actually showed you an in-engine screenshot from UE4 a month ago, without mentioning it!), so here’s a demo of interaction with the Jungle Island submarine, running in Unreal Engine 4. Please note that the sub is still untextured, and the animations/GUI/interactions are not final in any way. This is more of a programming test, to learn the ins and outs of Unreal 4.

We’ll keep you updated on our Unreal 4 development as it progresses!