Jul 14 2016


Wow, it’s been a while, hasn’t it! Sorry about that. Rest assured, the last few months have been extremely active for us, and we have a lot of cool stuff to show for it! Our camera matching has come along really really well, and we’re in the process of loading our matched assets into Unreal now.

We’ll be presenting as usual at Mysterium this year in Salt Lake City, so we don’t want to show off too much just yet. But as a taste, here are a few shots of the fruits of our labor since April:

Boiler Island

The woodchipper on Boiler Island

Gehn's lab
Camera match of the Gate Room from above

Gate Room block-in model perspective shot

Survey Island

Survey from the sky

Keep in mind that these are stand-in models, the first step in creating art assets for our game. They’re definitely a work in progress, but having them done gives us a template to follow when sculpting high-poly models, and allows us to start work on interaction programming. Pretty soon we’ll have a fully playable game! Then we just have to make it look pretty.

That’s all for now, we’ll see you in August!


Dec 22 2015


Seven years ago today, in a half-joking AIM conversation between two friends from Uru Obsession, the Starry Expanse Project began. While at the time we were absolutely getting in over our heads, we like to think that we’ve proven our chops by hanging on until we managed to bring together a team capable of accomplishing the insane goal we set for ourselves all those years ago: to make a realtime 3D version of Riven.

And a few months ago, we decided that we would have our first fully complete area of the game done by November, Gehn’s 233rd age. November became December, and now we’re almost done with December, too. It turns out it’s really difficult for perfectionists such as ourselves to call something “complete”. We’re working on that.

Anyway, it’s been too long since we shared our progress with our amazing community, so we thought that in celebration of our seventh year of development, we would show you guys what we’ve got cooking.

While 233 is not yet fully complete (most notably, the exterior still needs work, and our lighting is way off in many areas), we’re really proud of how it’s looking. We hope you guys will like it, too – honestly, you’re the only reason we’re able to continue working on a project of this magnitude under the circumstances that we do. Your continuing support and generosity is what fuels our developers, and we really can’t say “thank you” enough.

Here’s to seven years! We’re still here, we’re still working, we’re going to finish this thing. See you in 2016!

Nov 9 2015

What’s in a name?

As those of you who subscribe to the idea of a solar calendar may have noticed, it is currently November. We recently promised you guys that we would have 233 finished by November, and we still intend to make good on that promise. That said, we have decided to allow ourselves some…uh…let’s call it artistic license with the definition of “November”. That is to say, we will have 233, in its final state of readiness (more or less) before the end of November.

In the meantime, here’s a couple of things that have been improved upon since Mysterium, to tide you over until the big reveal.

Gehn’s timepiece animation is much more realistic, and more accurate to the original.

For reference, this is what it looked like at Mysterium this year.

Gehn’s bed now has a high-detail sculpt, replicating the fabric folds and wrinkles of an actual bed.
Bed Sculpt

And Gehn’s desk gets more gorgeous every day, of course.
Desk Beauty Shot

There’s so much more happening here, and all of it is so close to being ready to show you guys. We can hardly wait!

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!

Aug 12 2015

Mysterium 2015 Recap

This year at Mysterium (the annual gathering of Myst fans), we gave a presentation demoing our latest work – most notably, Gehn’s 233rd age. We had a lot of fun, and while the age is not completely finished, we’re really proud of our work so far. You can watch the presentation in its entirety here:

We had a lot of fun working on the demo at Mysterium. We have a tradition of continuing to polish our presentations right up until the minute we go on stage. We’re never satisfied!

Texture work in the hotel room Preparing for the demo


The area is definitely still a work in progress – for example, in the demo above we had not yet added the textures for Gehn’s desk. We have since added those in, and you can see them in the screenshots below, rendered in beautiful 4K for your viewing pleasure:

Inside the cage

A linking book

The office

The bedroom

The bedroom

(We’re also aware that there are some weird glitches happening in the water, these are an artifact of the rendering process we used to make the screenshots and won’t be visible in the final game)

We set up the demo for Mysterium-goers to try hands-on, and everyone had a good time.

Mysterium demo

Mysterium demo


We think it was a really successful Mysterium, and a great year for the project. Here’s looking forward to 2016! Stay tuned as we put the finishing touches on 233, and begin work on our next area.


Jul 8 2015

Bits and Bobs

Gehn’s desk in his 233rd age is supposedly organized just as his father’s desk was, in D’ni. Today, we have the beginnings of a few of the objects featured in that layout.

The inkwell

The vial

The pen

The pipe


These were rendered in Unreal, but they are currently using stand-in materials and textures.

Jun 17 2015


Work on 233 is progressing nicely…

Linking Book Pedestal

A Closer View

Mar 19 2015

Reviewing for Finals

We’ve  been showing off the Jungle island schoolhouse a lot recently, because its one of our fastest-progressing assets. The work in here is now entering the “review” phase, meaning that it’s pretty much all done – just needs a few tweaks here and there. We’re pretty confident that what you see here will be at least pretty close to what the final area will look like. Check it out!

(Beware, these files are pretty high-resolution)

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 (community.starryexpanse.com) — 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

Dec 12 2014

December Update

The weather outside may be frightful, and it may have been a few months since we’ve updated you guys on our doings, but work continues regardless! Here are a few updates on the content we showed you guys last time.

First up, the bushwhacking efforts in the jungle are going well. For those just joining us, most of the work produced by our art team begins as rough blocking geometry, which may not be exactly accurate in terms of shape or detail, but are extremely accurately placed, thanks to the system of camera matching we use (object triangulation using the original game renders).

The colored outlines are our geometry, the background images are original renders from Riven.

Camera Matching I

Camera Matching II


The rest of the art team, meanwhile, continues to work on their projects. 233 continues to shape up — here are a few of the props that have been developed so far:

Gehn's Cannen

The Pedestal

Gehn's Desk

Texturing for these models will begin soon!

Finally, we are working on fleshing out the Jungle Island Basin area that we showed at Mysterium, filling in the gaps of missing objects and textures from Mysterium. Here’s one such object, a fishing net from the village, which has been modeled but not yet placed:

The Fishing Net


Now, bundle up and stay tuned for more updates; we’re heading back into production season!