What is The Starry Expanse Project?

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. Please note that this demo is very old and not indicative of final quality.

If you are an artist, particularly a 3D modeler or animator, we need your help!

For more information and pretty scenery, you can watch the presentations we gave at Mysterium. The most up-to-date one is the one from 2014, and there’s additional (partially out of date) information in the presentations from 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. You can also follow us on several social media outlets, though the best source for news is this website.

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! Has Cyan sent you any of the original assets from RIVEN?

Unfortunately we can’t disclose any actual details about our relationship with Cyan due to contractual obligations. That said, everything that has been posted to the website so far was essentially re-created from scratch. The only exceptions to this so far have been the sounds and music, which are directly from the original game.

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 Xbox / iPhone / Android / Wii U / PS3 / Toaster?

Right now, the answer is no. In the future, we may choose to add mobile support, but don’t count on it!

Will you support Linux / SteamOS?


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.

Will your game be translated into French/Spanish/Chinese/Tok Pisin/Toaster?

We intend to offer our game in as many languages as possible. If you speak French/Spanish/Chinese/Tok Pisin/Toaster, and want to see Riven translated into your language, we have good news! All of our translation efforts are crowd-sourced, so head on over to our GULP page and get translating!

It is worth noting, however, that we are currently only planning on offering translations of written text, due to the complications involved with dubbing speech. That said, we are definitely evaluating the possibility of at least offering subtitles.

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.

One way that you can immediately get involved is by contributing to the translation effort, by submitting or reviewing translations on our GULP page.

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.

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