What is Starry Expanse?

The Starry Expanse Project (also known as simply Starry Expanse or sometimes realRiven) is an official fan project to remake the game Riven: The Sequel to Myst in real time 3D. For those who don’t know, the original game was essentially an interactive slideshow of 2-dimensional pictures that changed based on where a person clicked their mouse. This remake features rich, full 3D movement like one finds in most modern first-person adventure games.

We accomplish this goal by carefully examining the original shots from Riven and constructing 3D representations based on those 2D images, which is quite challenging. The Starry Expanse Project is a long-term one; the original game took dozens of artists several years to complete. We are a much more humble, volunteer-based outfit, so it will most certainly take us longer, but with our extreme dedication, we are certain that we will finish, ensuring that every detail is accurate, realistic, and as true to the original game as possible.

We released a public demo of the game in late 2012.

For more information, you can watch the presentations we gave at Mysterium in 2010, 2011, and 2012. You can also follow us on several social media outlets, though the best source for news is this website.


Frequently Asked Questions 

Will you support the Oculus Rift device?

Short answer: not at this time, no. Long answer: see this post. 

Who are you?

We’re just huge Myst fans with spare time, talent, and a lot of passion. Check out our Team Roster.

Does Cyan Worlds know about you?

Yes! That’s the coolest part of the whole thing; Cyan Worlds seems to really like us, they’ve offered us their support, and we have their blessing to continue. We’re living out our fan dreams.

That’s really cool! Can I see the stuff Cyan is sharing with you?

Unfortunately we can’t disclose any actual details about our relationship with Cyan due to contractual obligations.

When is it going to be done? When will the beta be ready?

It will take a long time; it will take years. We are committed to making the game as high of a quality as necessary to do the original justice, and as such the project will take as long as it needs to. At the same time, we are also very busy students and some of us have jobs, so our time commitment is limited. Thus, development is not spread evenly throughout the year, and each year we become more efficient and organized, so it’s very difficult to come up with a timescale for the project. This is why we’ve simply decided to stick with the answer: it will be done when it’s done.

Will you support Linux / XBOX / iPhone / Android / WiiU / PS3 / Toaster?

Right now, the answer is no. We are set to support Windows and Mac personal computer operating systems only. In the future, we may choose to add mobile support, but don’t count on it.

But what about Linux?

We currently have no official plans to support any platforms beyond Windows and Mac. This is due primarily to the limitations of UDK, our engine of choice, which does not support Linux. That said, with Valve’s new Steam Machines running a version of Linux, it is very likely that UDK will be adding Linux support in the future. If they do, it’s very likely that we will change our stance on the platform. Until then, however, we make no promises beyond Windows and Mac.

Unity supports Linux, though! If you had just stayed with Unity…

When we were building our game in Unity, we were using version 3.x. Linux support, unfortunately, was not added until version 4.x, which was a prohibitively expensive update. UDK is very inexpensive to work with, and far more powerful than Unity (3.x or 4.x). It offers the same platform support that Unity 3.x did, Windows and Mac OS, so nothing was lost in the move – but much has been gained.

Have you considered a Kickstarter?

We have considered it, and while it’s definitely a possibility for the future, we’re not planning one right now.

How much will the game cost? Will it be open-source?

We have no idea; it’s something we have yet to work out with Cyan. We don’t know how much it will cost or how it will be distributed, but it likely will not be free. As a result, it’s unlikely that the whole product would be made open-source, but it’s possible that individual components of the game will be made open-source.

I would like to join this project. How can I help?

Awesome. We could use some help. Send us an email at general@starryexpanse.com; we’re much more interested if you provide us a resumé and/or examples of past work. There’s also a list of talent we are in need of.

I sent you guys an email, but you never responded! Did I say something wrong?

Nope. Again, we’re a very small team of volunteers, with not a whole lot of time to spend managing the project. This means that unfortunately, a lot of emails we receive get put onto the “reply to this someday” stack.

Actually, chances are, if you don’t get a reply from us, it’s because you said something really interesting, which merits a much more thought-out response than we’re able to give quickly. We do make an effort to reply to every email we get, but we’re still not very good at it. Sorry!

What happened to the funding counter? Are you guys stealing our donations, or what?

The funding counter was removed from our front page because we decided it no longer served a purpose – without a specific fundraising goal, it felt odd to continue publicly counting our funds.

That said, we promise that all donations received are accounted for, and are only used for the direct benefit of the project.

I donated $20, but the funding counter went up by $19.31! You guys are stealing my money, aren’t you?

Once again, no, kindest paranoid fan, we are not stealing your money — what’s happening is, PayPal takes a cut of every donation we receive, and we only count money that we can actually use. This deduction is important to remember for another reason, which is that if you donate less than $1, we don’t actually get any of it, and will not be able to put your name in the credits of the final game. It just wouldn’t be fair to the people who donated more.

What are you using all that money for, anyway?

Money donated is generally used for licensing technologies for use in the game. We licensed Unity Pro using donated funds, our original sky system was purchased using donated funds, etc. Additionally, the maintenance of our servers incurs yearly costs. While we do not disclose all of our spending, we do promise that all donated money will be used for purchases which directly benefit the production of the game itself.

Man, it’d be really cool if you guys would just support Linux!

Look, we want to. We really do. We are all in favor of making this game for as many platforms as we can, but until the engine we’re using supports Linux, our hands are tied!

If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to contact us!