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!

41 Responses to “Seven”.

Team members' usernames are in red.
  • John Drake Says:

    This is looking so incredible, it is starting to get the right look and feel about it now as you improve your textures and lighting, such an awesome job that is really appreciated by everybody – thank you so much. Have a great Christmas guys and a brilliant 2016 and thank you again for doing this – absolutely incredible.
    Kind regards
    JD (

  • Flowerpower Says:

    Absolutely stunning! I can’t even imagine how the finished product will look because this is so great already. Good Job…. no wait…. y’all did an amazingly fantastic, super duper awsome, crazy good job!! 🙂

  • Genral Nonsense Says:

    man, i looks like it could be played now. can’t wait to see the rest of the game

  • Derek Says:

    Looks amazing guys! Keep up the great work. I can’t wait to see more.

  • BenMech Says:

    So, this is after you’ve left Gehn in the trap book, right

  • Ben Says:

    please, take your time. Not joking – I’d prefer there to be no pressure!!

  • Edward Says:

    Incredible work guys! I’ve been following this project for years and every new clip continues to amaze! Keep up the GREAT work!

  • Trekluver Says:

    Impressive. Most impressive.

    (Also, Happy New Year to the team! 😀 )

  • iBookworm Says:

    I figure you guys will finish right about the time when I can finally afford a machine than can run it, and a VR headset. Very happy to know this is coming, no matter how long it takes.

  • The green butterfly Says:

    It’s really nice how the gold on the paper of the linking book reflects the light so realistic! Fantastic work!
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  • Stigma Says:

    very nice job. I am your work from the beginning.
    I’m french.

  • Imonobor Says:

    Time to release a second demo? 😀
    Looks really awesome, keep it up!
    And happy holidays!

  • Andross Says:

    Great work guys! And a Merry Christmas to you!

  • Anthony Says:

    I think the lighting and everything look awesome! Question, can you repost it in 1080p (or even 4k)?
    Also, I would like to see the animation of the water. If you could make a video that simply stares into the sunset for 10 seconds, I’ll be happy; heck, make it 10 hours long and it might even become my video wallpaper…

    • zib_redlektab Says:

      Keep in mind, the water and sky are two of the most glaring examples of assets we’re not even close to being finished with yet! 🙂 We’re glad you like them, though.

      I’ll see what can be done about Full HD/4K.

  • Mystoph Says:

    I check your page every month and most of the time I don’t comment… eventhough I always leave with a smile and a good feeling about the progress you made! It’s so incredible great… Thank you, thank you, thank you! Keep up your great work and thanks for letting us peek inside your project…

    All the best for 2016 and I hope you’ll figure out a way to make at least a tiny little bit of profit of all your work in the end!

  • Eric Says:

    It looks great, although I’m wondering why the desk isn’t reflecting the objects on top of it. It was DEFINITELY doing that in the original shots. I wonder if the fact that this isn’t ray-traced effects the realism compared with the original. I know ray tracing takes a lot more processing power.

  • Brett Says:

    Looks great! Can’t wait to see the other areas as they develop.

  • Nintendo Maniac 64 Says:

    Just a quick FYI regarding video resolution on YouTube:

    You only need 1280px wide OR 720px high in order for 720p quality to be made available; therefore you did not need to include the black bars in the video.

    For example, both a 960×720 and a 1280×600 video would have 720p quality made available on YouTube.

    (this concept applies to the likes of 1080p as well; 1440×1080 and 1920×800 will still get 1080p quality on YouTube)

    • zib_redlektab Says:

      Actually, the letterboxing you’re seeing there was not added to the video. We’re currently rendering the game that way to simulate the aspect ratio of the original. There’s actually more letterboxing in our builds than you see here. Can’t guarantee this is how we’ll present it in the final release, but for now it’s how we’ve been working.

      If you want to see the full extent of our letterboxing, the uncropped version of this video looked like this.

      • Austin Says:

        Wow. This really FEELS like Riven. It looks just like how Riven was always meant to look. Guys, this is some AAA quality stuff right here. I sure hope you make some profit from this, you guys really deserve it. Can you imagine? Cyan releases Obduction, and then maybe a year later when Cyan has gained a lot of public interest again, you release your game? That’s a year and a half, a tight deadline to meet. But the timing would be great for sales!

      • Austin Says:

        Oh, my opinion on the letter boxing is maybe you should make it an option to turn that on or off. Some people may like the classic look, but I want Fullscreen 1080 to get as much beauty out of the game as I can…maybe I’ll buy a new monitor for 4K when this game comes out. REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO IT!

        • Anthony Kleine Says:

          But if it’s completely fullscreen how is your inventory accessed? It’s not like Myst where there is only one inventory item to have, yet there are so few inventory items that pressing a button to bring a menu up like in an MMO would seem silly.

  • Flake Says:

    Nice to meet you. What is the next project (area) ?

  • TJ Says:

    Very impressive. Up to Cyan standards.

  • Simon Says:

    This is absolutely awesome! I totally love the attention to all the details you put in there. I’ve been following your project since the very beginning and I’m so impressed how this worked out so far.
    Riven was released almost 20 years ago… Who would ever thought that we could see this world in realtime 3d, that machines will be powerful to handle this. Keep on the work, cause you’re really working on a dream come true!

  • Cooper Says:

    This looks REALLY good! WOW!

  • Kohdi Says:

    Hate to break the 25-comments symmetry but I just had to congratulate you on your excellent work. The atmosphere, lighting, and visual quality of the original is most definitely preserved and enhanced here. It’s great to see updates no matter how on-schedule you are, you have my full support, and that of many others, I’m sure!

  • Brad Says:

    Echoing what everyone else is saying… I too am very impressed with the progress so far. I’ve been following for years and I’m always excited to see the current progress. My fear is that because of the slow build time and the updates posted along the way, we’ll feel like we’ve already played/seen it all. I know most of us have played the original and know what the game looks like, but to see it in real-time 3D is different. Are you guys going to hold back on some of the content/islands and keep them a surprise until the game releases or do you plan on showcasing everything along the way? I would really like to see a good chunk of the game for the first time while I’m playing it, but it’s too hard to stay away from your website and avoid all the pictures and videos that get leaked (released). Keep up the good work! Really anticipating playing this!

  • David Says:

    233 looks amazing!

    I’m so impressed with what I’ve seen on this site I just made a generous donation. I wish you guys the best of luck in completing this amazing project. Thanks for all the hard work!

  • Travis Says:

    I hope this doesnt end up like realmyst masterpiece edition, it was great n all, but it has many problems, and it is a shadow of the original version. My main problem with it was everything looks less surreal and more ‘earth-like’ . Like the rock and water. I like how the water looked like a chemical in the original. And it looked like it was still and being vibrated by something. The bloom in realmyst looks like something you see here instead of another world. I really hate that when you first link to myst, instructions pop up on your screen showing the controls in reamyst me. And the arrows that show up when u grab a lever. Completly breaks immersion. Maybe they were technical limitations at the time but i see them as design choices. I wish they could make realmyst look exactly like the original but that will never happen now

    • Andross Says:

      Um, the original game was like that because of the hardware limitations of the time. Trust me, if they’d had the time or budget of Riven, Myst would have looked a lot more ‘realistic’ than it did in the original game. The water was still and just a reflective pattern because that is the limit of what they were able to do. You have to remember that Myst was made VERY early on in the days of complex 3D graphics, and that it was the first game which the Millars had used 3D graphics for (I believe they bought their software for Myst), previously everything was hand drawn. Don’t get me wrong. There are lots of problems with realMyst Masterpiece, the worlds are way to small, the models still have less polygons and worse lighting than the original game, and the redone performance of Atrus sucks, but everything you have mentioned was a design limitation rather than a design choice, and they were always going to change that if they redid it.
      That being said, Riven already looks perfectly realistic, so it’s just a matter of HDing it. The problem will be that the things that look fine in prerendered graphics because you don’t get that close to them are going to be subject to much higher scrutiny in this version. Also I’ve yet to see a game done in realtime which is lit as well as Riven.

      • Travis Says:

        If you lower the resolution to match the original and compare screenshots, its clear that the original looks way better, sure it didnt have realtime, but the point and click style is what made myst so unique.

  • Josh S. Says:

    While this looks incredible as it is, will it be able to play in the original point and click style but with these graphics? Ex. realMyst

    • Andross Says:

      I believe the idea is that it will be like Myst 5 in that you can choose a from either WASD + mouse, Full 360 point-and-click from a node, or original Riven camera placement click-and-point. But then I could be wrong. They have changed their minds about a couple of UI things, but that was my understanding last I saw the topic come up.

  • Tobias V. Langhoff Says:

    Wow. As a Myst fan who checks this website maybe once or twice a year (and, to be frank, half expecting to see the project dead every time I do), this is astounding. You are amazing.

  • Andross Says:

    Come on guys! It’s been 2 & 1/2 months! We’re dying for an update!

  • David Cellini Says:

    Hi guys, been following the project since the beginning. I am loving it so far. Keep up the good work! Can’t wait to beta test!!

  • Mike Says:

    This looks amazing… like seriously… as good or maybe better than Obduction haha. Keep up the good work for as long as you can stand to!

  • Robin Weber Says:

    GREAT !
    You are amazing !!!
    Continue like that 🙂

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