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!
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!
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:
(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.
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.
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.
Just a small update today, with an object some of you may recognize. This is a high-poly model, where an artist goes all-out to produce the most detailed, accurate, beautiful model of an object as they possibly can, without any regard for poly count or performance.
While we’re pretty confident that our engine could handle a model like this in realtime, the next step will be to create the low-poly model, which judiciously reduces our polygon count without sacrificing accuracy and detail.
Earlier this week, the gaming news website PCGamesN published an article about the Starry Expanse Project, featuring an interview with us! If you’re interested in getting to know the team and our project’s history, it’s a great read. Check it out!
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:
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.
We are committed to making our game a multilingual experience. One aspect of that push gathering translations of all text and speeches in Riven, and as we have mentioned before, we have partnered with OHB in order to do just that. If you’re interested in helping translate Riven, check out the project page over at GULP.
Another aspect, however, is the actual implementation of those other languages. We’ve shown you guys the custom fonts being built by Vincent, our in-house typographer, before (Atrus, and some of Gehn), but today we’d like to share his efforts towards multilingual support.
The main problem, of course, would be accents and other characters that were not present in the original game. In order to create these, Vincent printed out a sheet of text using our Gehn font, and then drew in the accents by hand. These were then scanned back in, and used as the basis for what is now in the font.
This is the first of our fonts to receive this treatment, but the Atrus font will eventually have all of these characters as well.
If you are feeling particularly generous, you can donate some money to us, to help fund the project. Even though our primary funding goal has been reached, we could always use more funds. The more we get, the easier it will be for us to finish the game in a timely manner. If you donate, your name will be included in the credits!
Just make sure to include your name where the page tells you to!
We are not a non-profit organization, nor are we tax-exempt in any country. All money is to be used for the sole purpose of furthering the Starry Expanse Project, and not the personal gain of any member thereof. That said, we are not obligated to disclose how we ultimately use our funds. Donations are not pre-orders, nor do they represent the purchase of any goods or services. Donations do not entitle the donor to any share in, or profit made by 59 Volt Entertainment. Donations are not a guarantee of the delivery or execution of any goods or service, apart from the previously mentioned credit. We do, however, guarantee that all purchases will contribute to the Starry Expanse Project. Donations are non-refundable.