In-Game Prison Island

Ok, ok, ok. You asked for it, we promised it, here it finally is. In-game footage from Prison Island, circa Mysterium 2011. This is a good example of what the game looks like at the moment, though not at all a good example of the final level of quality we’re aiming for.

Unfortunately, due to a quirk in our video-capture solution, the recording came out a little jerky. This is especially noticeable in the cursor. We’ll try to fix this in future videos, but for now, just remember that the actual game plays nice and smoothly.

Be sure to see the video in HD!

More to come soon!

Edit: We appreciate the comments and critiques, everybody, but please keep in mind that this is a work in progress. We’re constantly working on making the game look even better than it does here, in fact it’s mainly what we’re focused on right now. We’re taking your comments into consideration, along with our own plans for improvement.

Edit 2: We’ve re-rendered this video so it’s smoother, and it includes sound and more! Check it out!

44 Responses to “In-Game Prison Island”.

Team members' usernames are in red.
  • noneya456 Says:

    Looks really great! Glad to see there are some ‘thinkers’ left who truly appreciate what is to be learned from Riven and are carrying on its legacy. Its like the brothers knew the D’ni were far and few.

  • John D Says:

    Looking pretty awesome guys, much better than I expected. Water is a very hard thing to get right in any 3D app but you seem to have cracked it with this. If I have one minor observation (and it is only minor) – the clouds don’t look quite right – maybe thin them out a bit? Looks like high altitude cloud layer when in Riven the clouds were more like cumulus which are much lower – I know they are meant to be like Cumulus but they lack definition, the sky might look a bit better for less clouds – other than that I think you have done a tremendous job on what most people would have thought impossible. One other thing, is there any chance Cyan would let you use the original sound clips? Might save a bit of work on re-inevnting the wheel so to speak. Superb jobs guys, I would definitely buy this when it is done. Kind regards JD

  • Mystical.Digital Says:

    Completely amazing, you guys are doing amazing. I’m trying my hardest to learn Blender to model a rock face, and you guys have a full location done that is simply awe inspiring

  • Elendil Says:

    Looks very good. You guys are going for excellence!
    One thing that stands out to me is the animation. The elevator movement was matched pretty well.

    If you don’t mind, there are two things I’m wondering about. Can you make the clouds look just like the clouds in the original prison island pictures? They don’t really have that authentic look and feel. Also, the water is pretty realistic, but can you match it more with the original Riven pictures? The color is completely different.

    It just doesn’t have the same feel as Riven did, which is what I’m really looking forward to. Riven always has been my favorite from the franchise.

    • cho102997 Says:

      Both the clouds and the ocean are stand-ins. We’ve got a great shader artist on our team now 🙂 who’ll hopefully be able to make us some great water shaders.

      • Elendil Says:

        In the original, prison island is quite bright and sunny. Are you still aiming to be as true to the original stills as possible, or will you be changing things like general lighting/color tone?

  • Floydman Says:

    This is amazing. One thing I think looks weird, though, is the horizon. For some reason it looks like the ocean doesn’t extend far enough. The horizon in the prototype looks much more “extended”.

  • John Says:

    Obviously my compliments and questions are upsetting the moderators – sorry about that, I didn’t realise I was upsetting so many people – I am assuming that is the case as all of my comments keep getting deleted.
    Yesterday I made similar observations about the clouds (now answered) and asked if Cyan would give you guys permission to use the original sound files to save you reinventing them. Am I really being THAT controversial guys?
    Apologies if I am…

    • Mystical.Digital Says:

      Much like the Mysteria Film Group with the Myst movie, I think Cyan’s choice as to whether Volt 59 can proceed with the project depends on how much effort and care Volt 59 puts into the project, hoe well they treat the franchise. So far they seem to be on the right track, so we can only hope Cyan supports the project as it matures.

    • cho102997 Says:

      Sorry about that, we have to approve comments before they show up, and it looks like we missed yours for a while or two 😉

  • Trekluver Says:

    It looks good. Say concerns that everyone else mentioned apply as well. The tree stump still looks slightly off to me; don’t know. Other than that, the sky, and the clouds, there’s the walkway. The walkway still needs some roughing up to look like it’s been battered by waves and rusted a little, just like it looked in the original. Keep up the work guys!

  • Stefanos Kostaras Says:

    I hate to say this, but I don’t like the clouds and their reflections on the sea. The rest looks great. I also liked your addition on player’s back on the top of the elevator.

    Easter Egg Hint: Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to visit the cell room and the balcony??

  • John D Says:

    Thanks Cho, thought I was upsetting you guys for a minute. Got to say this is pretty mind-blowing stuff you guys are achieving here. This is a big learning curve for all involved and I know we are all going to be patient (and helpful in our comments) – considering how long it took Cyan to do the original I think you guys are going at light-speed which is to your credit. Cannot praise your work highly enough – there just arne’t enough words. Kind regards JD

  • John D Says:

    Sorry, me commenting again – I think what we have to remember here is that the original Riven was Rendered which not only took a great deal of time but because it was rendered (as in the Blender example on this site) was of very high quality. Now, I am no expert on these things (I have a little knowledge that’s all) but I know that the way the environment is created in a game is very different and achiving the same kind of quality as you would get in a rendered image is not only almost impossible (I did say almost), but also very resource hungry – and the game has to be playable, so don’t be surprised or disappointed if compromises have to be made. From what I have seen so far of the latest video I would be more than happy to pay ‘top dollar’ for the completed game if it all looks that good (and what is shown is still work in progress!).
    Keep this standard up guys and you won’t go far wrong. Just wish I had your talent and could offer more than just words on a screen…

    • Marein Says:

      Hey John, you’re very right even though you say you’re no expert. For general knowledge spreading, let me tell you that both games like Riven and games like Uru are ‘rendered’, but Riven is ‘pre’-rendered. This means that the images were generated from the 3D files before the game was published, which allows each image to take a long time to be rendered, allowing in turn for a lot of detail. Uru, on the other hand, is ‘real-time’-rendered, meaning that dozens of images need to be generated each second. As you say (at this time at least) it would take an almost impossibly powerful system to render images that quickly at the same quality as a pre-rendered image.

  • Gorobay Says:

    I notice that you were able to walk very close to the zoetrope pole, and I think you even walked through it in the Mysterium demo. Will the poles be more tangible in the final release?

    Also, what does the “Peaches” option do?

  • John Says:

    That’s it in a nutshell…lol

  • John D Says:

    Just ‘Tweeted’ asking people to come and have a look at this, also asked them to donate $1 – if enough people do that it will help you to reach your target. Not sure how much good it will do but it was worth a shot. Regards JD

  • Ahlisendar Says:

    When will you start on jungle island?

  • Ahlisendar Says:

    Can we have some new wallpapers now?

  • Ahlisendar Says:

    I just read the edit about the comments… I can understand you might get annoyed after seventeen comments complaining about the clouds :).

  • Ahlisendar Says:

    Sorry to make another comment, but I’d like to say that I loved the rolling waves that were there. You’re obviously showing the same attention to detail that made cyan great.

  • Anthomuy Says:

    I have an idea; completely get Prison Island to 100% status (or thereabouts) and release it as a general release for exploring only. I bet donations will skyrocket thereafter!

    Love the ingame engine and cant wait for the shading/lighting effects to be realised as you can tell these factors really influence the entire look of the level.

  • Anthomuy Says:

    Also, the original Prison Island was based on a coral reef as shows which I hope will transition nicely into starryexpanse!

  • John D Says:

    Still Tweeting for the $1 donations to help you guys out…

  • Gregoire VDS Says:

    Guys, I’m waiting for this for years… If one day I can walk again in Riven in 3D, with the same feelings, I think I’ll cry, really. Caves and cracks on Jungle Island were so beautiful, Whark Room and the ambiance down there… man. Riven Original Soundtrack is on my last Cowon player, and I listen to it once a month, no problem.

    Will we able to go from one isle to the other swimming? Or go swimming around the Isles?

    All the very best, hoping to have news from you soon, seconding the suggestion to have a prison Island release (Mac OSX too, PLEAAASE!), and you’ll outreach your goals for sure.


  • Ahlisendar Says:

    I have a question: Will you have the cyan intro in the beginning of the game, a 59 volt thing, or some sort of hybrid? Or other?

  • Ahlisendar Says:

    I have another random question: How do you intend to get around that ambiguous area in the jungle where you see the dagger in the ground and if you click on it you zoom in on some rock and if you click again there’s a random eyeball? Do you actually know how that works?

  • John Says:

    Guys, just to let you know I am Tweeting again for donations for you and have just posted the following on the Myst Community Forum – will be donating more to you at the end of this month in line with what I have said below:

    Post at MC:
    Just noticed over the past couple of days that the guys at Starry Expanse are now at 90.67% of their total for the Unity program.

    To all of those who have donated – thank you on their behalf.

    I have been Facebooking and Tweeting donation requests as well as on this forum for the princely sum of $1 from as many people as possible.

    Obviously I have no idea how effective that has been as I can’t see the results but I am asking for one last push for these guys, they need just another $186.53 to achieve their total, I will be donating another $10 this month which leaves $176.53 to go – if we can get 170 people to give just $1 each I will put up the remaining $6.53 in addition to my planned $10.

    Let’s have one last push and help them to achieve ‘RealRiven’

    They have the talent and the will – all they need is a small amount of funding and our ‘Faith’ in their ability to deliver.

    For those who have given – again, a sincere thank you – although I am not actively involved in the project and have no affilliations to 59 Volt Entertainment I desperately want to see them suceed with this, please help where you can – kind regards JD

  • John D Says:

    Have updated this at Myst Community to show your latest status – Allatwan has donated $10 last night, I will uphold my end of the deal at the end of this month when I get paid – we are getting there, the target is in sight…

    Have Tweeted today, will Tweet again every day until the target is reached.

    Good luck with the project…

  • Ahlisendar Says:

    Can we have a treat to celebrate passing the 90% mark?

  • Phil Says:

    If we’re doing criticism: the texture for the walkway surface looks really flat, almost like linoleum tile.

    If we’re not doing criticism: I still can’t believe this exists. 😀

  • Vangelis Says:

    Starryexpanse Team + Unity3D + Ipad = True happiness!

    • Elendil Says:

      Pardon me, but I recognize that name. Are you ‘the’ Vangelis, Ευάγγελος Οδυσσέας Παπαθανασίου?

  • BuddhaMaster Says:

    Holy Sh**

    Are you guys some actual modellers from Cyan??
    Everything looks Riven 1:1 !!!

    Please tell me, I’m a obsessed fan 😉

  • Emile Says:

    After all, things could possibly get really complicated should you wind up infecting your
    PC in the act of enjoying for free.

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