Hello! We're the Starry Expanse team, a group of people from around the world that has spent the past few years working on a realtime 3D version of the classic 1997 point-and-click game, RIVEN: The Sequel to MYST.

It's been a long, risky journey since we started out in a legal grey zone, but just recently the company that made MYST and RIVEN — Cyan Worlds — told us we have their official blessing to continue the project. Even better, they’ve informed us that they may be able to provide further assistance as our work progresses.

Here’s an in-game look at some of our newest work.

Answering your questions today will be five team members:

  • Max “Zib Redlektab” Batchelder (Boston)
  • Everett Gunther (Memphis)
  • Matthew Sampson (Connecticut)
  • Philip Peterson (Orlando)
  • Nick “Shimmey” Mower (Adelaide, Australia)

Feel free to ask us anything you care to about the project!

Confirmation from our site


EDIT: Thanks for the questions everyone! Feel free to keep 'em coming. The traffic has slowed down so we won't be checking as often, but we will still be answering questions.

Comments: 1212 • Responses: 47  • Date: 

volatile_llama521 karma

You are doing the lords work.

StarryExpanse389 karma

We know.

FuzzyToaster147 karma

This is great! I have fond memories of playing the original, although I never had the chance to finish it.

How do you feel the change from point-and-click to walking around in 3D will affect the overall feel and atmosphere of the game? This atmosphere, rather than the gameplay and puzzles, is why I feel the game is so embedded in my memory.

Also: Aside from the obvious, how much are you changing with regard to content?

StarryExpanse125 karma

The atmosphere is absolutely something we want to retain from the original. It’s a reason we love Riven too. Retaining atmosphere is an issue that sometimes even conflicts with the freedom we’re trying to inject, yes. For example, sometimes in the original, the feeling of a certain scene is dependent on the direction the player is looking. We may have to limit the player’s view for scenes like that, to get them to see everything that needs to be seen, but questions like that are still up in the air.

In terms of content, we’re changing very little. We want the puzzles to play the same, we want the player to be just as well guided and we want the story to be told exactly the same way. The changes we want to make are purely aesthetic.

Atoramos286 karma

You want the puzzles to play the same.

In "The Game With The Marble Puzzle", you want the puzzles to play the same.

You are bringing the marble puzzle to a whole new generation of gamers. This puzzle is an entity of pure evil and frustration. No greater darkness exists in the realm of gaming. And you, programmers and designers, developers and artists, are putting the foul machinations in place to once again bring this obstacle of damnation to human minds.

Thus you are beings most terrible, wielding cryptic apocalyptic whispers to destroy the hopes and dreams of those who would call themselves gamers. Damn you, forever and always. I condemn you to a world of trickery and jest where you will forever search to complete tomes, to only be locked within those lands they describe.

plule117 karma

Yay, you are doing great work guys.

  • Since Cyan Worlds approved your work, have you considered asking if they would have old files of 3d models? (conversion would be probably be possible)
  • How do you think you will insert the characters (who were real actors in the original game)
  • How awesome does it feels to walk in Riven?

StarryExpanse119 karma

As was stated in our Mysterium presentation, we’re currently working with Cyan to dig up the old files if at all possible. They can’t devote too much time to it on their end, so it’s a slow process.

Characters are all being digitally modeled after their original actors, and animated to match the original acting.

We’re still only starting, but it’s pretty great. :)

swizzler11 karma

Hows that going to work? Are you getting the OK to release the audio assets or will there be an installer that extracts the .wav files from the disk/digital download?

StarryExpanse19 karma

The current plan is to embed the audio in the scene files, the way Unity normally embeds textures and scripts. This is the standard recommended way of doing it in Unity, not anything tricky or proprietary.

NxNmatrix86 karma

What a coincidence! I just finished the final block mold for my sculpted moiety daggers this weekend! They're made of heavy plastic! Would you and your team like a few freebies for good luck? I intended for these to be gifts for a few of my friends for the holidays :D

StarryExpanse42 karma

Of course, we’d love that - they look awesome. If you send us a message at [email protected], we can work something out :)

lazugod75 karma

  1. What platforms are you targeting?

  2. Cho?

StarryExpanse129 karma

We’re currently targeting the main platforms that Unity supports, Windows and OS X. Future versions of Unity will support Linux, so that may be a possibility in the future, as well.

Fahleeaiay. Kahkah wahdevol.

nachtmere119 karma

Thank you so much for including OS X.

ClintFuckingEastwood37 karma

I've been dying for Myst and Riven on my Mac for so long.

StarryExpanse14 karma

Those of us developing on OS X absolutely love this project.

d38sj5438dh2363 karma

Did you bring the page?

StarryExpanse56 karma

No... but we got the donuts!

MattBoySlim58 karma

This is the first I've heard of your project, though I've wanted something exactly like it since RealMyst released however many years ago. Will it play like RealMyst and Uru...meaning, will you basically be using FPS controls to walk around and explore the ages? Or will you still be tied down to specific points, only able to look around?

StarryExpanse60 karma

We’re currently planning on having a number of different navigation systems. If you wanted, you would be able to navigate with FPS controls, or else you could switch to a node-based navigation mode.

plule29 karma

Great to keep the node-based navigation.

StarryExpanse58 karma

Just to be clear, however, we don't currently intend on having a Riven-style navigation mode (static camera nodes). Our implementation is closer to the navigation system in Exile and Revelation, freelook nodes.

rocketman073945 karma

Let's see, more questions...

  • What is your progress so far, and when do you estimate release/beta test?
  • How are you going to deal with problem areas? That place where you have to crawl under a gate, for example. It seems to me like it would be a bit weird to include a crawling mechanic for the whole game, just for that. Thoughts?
  • How are areas such as water or cliffs going to be handled? Will the Stranger be able to drown/fall, or will there be clip to keep the player from trying it?
  • What about areas where you could bypass puzzles by going around them? I don't specifically remember any, except (say) swimming from island to island, but that could be annoying either way--whether having irrelevant puzzles or being blocked for no obvious reason.
  • Are you worried about being backstabbed like Patrick and Adrian were? (As a non-profit venture, it seems less likely, but still.)
  • Will little objects lying around, like books, scientific instruments, etc. be movable?
  • Will the Stranger see more of Tay this time around? If so, how much of the area was already sketched out by Cyan?
  • Can the Stranger see his reflection?

StarryExpanse55 karma

We have most of the islands in the game at least a little bit under-way. Prison Island is near completion, and Boiler Island is pretty far along, as well. We’re still nowhere near a concrete date for beta testing, however.

For a number of areas throughout the game, we’re going to have custom actions that are only performable at that location. This includes places like the gate on Temple Island, the submarine on Jungle, the maglevs, and the cart between Jungle and Boiler. These will all require custom camera actions, which wouldn’t really make sense at any other point in the game.

There’s been a lot of discussion on invisible walls. In general, we really don’t like them. At the same time, Riven is a complicated enough game as it is, if we let the player roam truly free, it gets even more confusing. For that reason, we’re probably still going to be constraining the player a lot, and that includes keeping them away from cliff edges and deep water.

While there’s always the possibility of ‘backstabbing’, it’s extremely unlikely as we’ve picked our group pretty carefully. Also, not having to deal with Hollywood, or any overseeing corporation/group (outside Cyan), we have a much more hands-on level of control with the project. I think that this means fewer fights, less drama, and a more cohesive group overall.

We want to have things be as dynamic as possible, so as much as we can, yes, little objects will be at least a little moveable.

Being huge fans ourselves, we would love to have more of Tay explorable. Our main concern with Tay, however, is that The Stranger would not plausibly be able to explore much more of the hive, or surrounding area. Catherine trusts us, but her people do not - there’s a reason that door was locked in the first place.

And no, the Stranger cannot see his or her reflection.

rocketman073926 karma

This is great! Best of luck!

  • Will you use the original live-action cutscenes?
  • Will you use the original soundtrack?
  • There's an area on one of the early islands which is left over from when they were connected with bridges. You can't get to it, but it's visible in promotional materials and from one of the trams. Will that be included as a sort of Easter egg?

StarryExpanse27 karma

We’ll be using 3D character models to recreate the cutscenes based on the original live action.

As for the music, we may be using the original soundtrack by itself, but we may also be adding on to it, or recreating (at least parts of) it. We would do this because some music might not exist in unadulterated audio files (i.e. it only exists combined with sound effects). This doesn’t lend itself well to 3D space. So, we’d need to either re-create it or try to separate the music from the sound effects. A lot of this depends on what of the original sound assets still exists at Cyan Worlds.

I think you’re talking about the garden on Jungle Island. We’ve talked about modeling it, but we don’t have any concrete plans. Chances are you wouldn’t be able to get there without explicitly enabling it.

* Edited to add some info.

SentientCitrus25 karma

Are Easter Eggs ('O Sole Mio, the faces, Spyder's egg hunt, Silly Putty, RAWA, etc.) under the purview of "keep it original", or are they too partial to the medium, original development crew, etc. to be included?

StarryExpanse50 karma

We plan to keep the original easter eggs intact as much as possible, in keeping with our aim to create a perfect recreation of Cyan’s original work. You have to understand that we are obsessive fanboys, and want this to be perfect.

Of course, we may have a few surprises of our own to add in. :)

tankfoot8623 karma

Love Riven! played it as a kid and have just started re-playing it again. Will it still be the classic point and click game or will that be changed?

StarryExpanse17 karma

There will be a couple movement options, just like in MYST V. You’ll be able to move freely with wasd or arrow keys, or (plans are that) you will be able to move in a classic point-and-click mode instead.

Jaexx20 karma

Do you guys ever misspell "mist" as "myst" in your daily lives? I do all the time, I assume from growing up playing the Myst games.

StarryExpanse31 karma

Shimmey does.

Everyone else: We pretty much all grew up playing Myst since we were toddlers. :P

TehArgus19 karma

Is the final product going to be sold or free? If sold, is Cyan Worlds getting a share?

StarryExpanse27 karma

We have not fleshed out our distribution plans at all yet. However, if money is pulled in for the game, we intend to give most of it, at least, to Cyan.

Y__M19 karma

Will you be looking to find a new audience of players who never played any of the Myst games before? Will you be making any changes to the game to cater to these new players who have different expectations of games than those of us who played in the 90s?

I saw on the Tinselman blog Robyn posted the game design document for Myst and some early maps for Riven but they're all 404s now, do any of you have or know of online copies of these?

StarryExpanse30 karma

Robyn has contacted us with an offer to provide us with some of his notes and other assets, and we will certainly be making use of those. We also intend to tweak puzzles a bit, to keep it interesting for veteran players (randomizing puzzles that were not randomized in the original, for example), while still maintaining the content and story from the original game.

We’d love to attract new players to the series, but we acknowledge that this is very much a fan’s game.

TehArgus18 karma

Great to see this! All the best to the team for what I'm sure is a passion project. A few questions:

  1. What is it like coordinating long distance? My game design partner recently moved to the West Coast from the East, and we're still trying to figure out the best way to organize ourselves. Given that you gus are working across state lines and countries, isn't the distance issue a challenge?

  2. How did you get the Cyan worlds guys to give the OK?

  3. I saw a Unity 3d icon in one of your movies but had trouble getting it to load (something tells me your site probably has pretty heavy traffic right now.) Are you using Unity and if so, what has your experience been?

StarryExpanse27 karma

  1. Distance is a big issue, but it’s sort of always been that way so we’ve adapted and gotten used to it. We originally used Google Wave, which was nice because it provided a sort of chat-like medium for communication along with image sharing and stuff, but that got very very unorganized (and slow, for some team members). That reason (combined with Wave shutting down) caused us to move to a forum, which was pretty slow to use, and then to IRC, which we’ve kept for a few years now. One hugely advantageous thing we’ve made use of in IRC is a bot that will store offline messages to users that aren’t present, and will deliver them when the user reappears. I think that’s been a very useful addition to our IRC — though other protocols like Jabber might support that out of the box, I dunno.

  2. We were honestly really worried about that and had no idea how it was going to happen. The original plan was to get a few areas “completely ready” and box it up and send it with a letter to Cyan, maybe even show up at their office to talk about it. We weren’t sure at all what Cyan thought about the project for a long time, and one of the scariest moments was when we saw “mail.cyan.com” as a referrer to our site. Our basic plan was to remain as silent to them as possible until everything was perfect, so as not to prematurely make a bad impression... Well, it ended up that one day Tony Fryman just emailed us out of the blue, saying he wanted it to be official, and sent us some legal documents. Boy was that a good day. :P

  3. We are using Unity. We find that it’s a great platform to build a game on, though much of what we want to do isn’t supported out of the box — so we have to hack it together or fake it. The result is a ton of our own infrastructure, which we hadn’t really anticipated. But, for most projects, Unity should be great, and it’s especially good for budding game developers.

plule23 karma

Wow, Cyan contacting you to make it official must have been awesome.

StarryExpanse24 karma

You have no idea.

Tinox17 karma

What are the challenges of remaking an open-ended game like Riven, by opposition to, say, Myst itself, which was fairly linear?

StarryExpanse26 karma

One issue that comes to mind is loading. In Myst, the game is split into small areas (the ages) which are isolated from one another. In Riven, the player spends time in an area which is massive, encompassing a much larger area than any of Myst’s ages. Even worse for us, the player can see all of the islands from many places in the game. This will require some tricky loading systems which we’re still in the process of designing.

For example, when you stand on Temple Island and look across at Jungle Island, we can’t keep Jungle Island loaded at full quality, simply because we’d be using too much of the computer’s resources. We can however load in a low detail version of Jungle Island to be seen only from far away. The changeover points for these models will probably be during island changes, like maglev rides.

Cykelero16 karma

Are there any puzzles that will be hard to recreate in 3d, requiring tweaks or increased ingenuity?

I'm thinking about the animal shapes scattered around the village island in particular; do you expect those to be hard to find because of movement freedom?

StarryExpanse22 karma

There are challenges like that, yes. Riven has lots of small things that were easier to find in its format, but we’ll be working hard to make sure the player is guided the same way in our remake. If necessary, we may use visual cues to lure the player to the right area, and of course the player won’t be given so much freedom as to wander off of a jungle path and lose the gameplay trail completely. Perhaps we will slightly constrain paths in certain areas to make sure the animal shapes are visible.

Some examples of puzzles that might be hard:

  • The button to open the wahrk statue, since it’s only visible from one(or maybe two?) screen(s) and is a very small hotspot.
  • The puzzle with the sunners’ different reactions based on how you approach them.
  • The firemarble domes. The scopes that look into them are very FPS-dependent, and in the exact wrong circumstances, the player would just see blackness through the scope. So, we’re going to have to come up with an interesting hack for that one.

Long story short, we want the game to be totally playable for newcomers, so making clues and puzzles easy to find is a major priority.

Edited: formatting

Zecronto16 karma

Do you like waffles?

StarryExpanse35 karma

Waffles are awesome and delicious.

frighter14 karma

What about carrots?

StarryExpanse69 karma

Eugh. Why would you bring carrots into this? We had such a nice thing going with the waffles...

corruptt14 karma

Are you hiring?

StarryExpanse34 karma

We don’t have any money, but we are taking volunteers!

3nderr17 karma

What software are you guys using, Maya? I might be interested in lending a hand w/ animation if you have a need for it :)

StarryExpanse23 karma

We are flexible when it comes to 3d modelling software. At the moment some of us use Maya, while some of us use Blender. Send us an email at [email protected].

statsisi14 karma

Will the game be beatable? You know, without a guide or anything. Myst was Water Temple difficult through the entire thing and I still screwed it up at the end.

StarryExpanse23 karma

Well, it’ll be harder than Myst, simply because Riven was harder than Myst. We don’t plan on (intentionally) making our remake any harder than the original Riven. If anything, it might be easier since some of the “hidden hotspots” could be easier to see when you’re walking around than as a few pixels in a static image.

flameofmiztli14 karma

What are some of the weather effects you plan to add?

StarryExpanse31 karma

Our sky system is quite complex, and will be able to change weather states from clear to rainy. Extreme thunderstorms may pop up on rare occasions. And no, we have no plans to support snow at this time. :)

backward_z10 karma

Since you have the opportunity here, it's worth bringing up.

I'm colorblind. The final major culminating puzzle of Riven was a color based puzzle. Because of this, during my first playthrough, I was forced to use a walkthrough in order to solve the final puzzle. This was incredibly disappointing for me. The color cues I should have picked up on earlier in the game went completely unnoticed because I've been forcefully conditioned not to recognize things by color. I don't say "Look at that green car," I say, "Look at that four-door sedan." You feel?

I'd like you to consider two puzzle games: Puzzle Figher and Bust-a-Move. In Puzzle Fighter, the player is forced to make matches based on color. I cannot play Puzzle Fighter. Orange and yellow are too similar. Red and green are too similar. Blue and purple are too similar. I think I'm about to line up a match, the pieces fall into place and nothing happens. I cannot play Puzzle Fighter.

Bust-a-Move on the other hand, in addition to the color association puts faces on each of the pieces. By looking at those faces, I'm easily able to make matches and it's very uncommon for me to line up a few pieces of different colors and be surprised when they don't match up.

I'm suggesting that for the color cues that lead into the final puzzle as well as for the actuating pieces of that puzzle, add some runes or something in overlay to tip off the ~10% of the male population that's colorblind that those pieces are important in aggregate and worth noting/remembering for later.

Thanks.

StarryExpanse15 karma

We understand the problem, and sympathise, and were always planning on including a colorblind mode to make the puzzles more accessible to the colorblind. One suggested method was for the cursor, when hovered over a colored object, to display the color in text. That way the colorblind would be able to follow along using color words instead of visual colors.

angrymbl10 karma

Do you realize you are creating a whole generations dreams?

StarryExpanse5 karma

It’s a big responsibility, but we think we’re the right ones to do it.

Luthalis9 karma

Oh. My God. I've never wanted a question answered so badly!!!!

Myst and Riven I largely consider to be my first "real" games. Even not being a PC gamer (I was like 8 when Myst came out), being in these worlds was both fascinating and terrifying. The ambience, the loneliness of the game, the oddness of it all was so engrossing to me that it legitemately upset me. Watching your character fall into the book in the opening cutscene was so haunting to me, no clue why. So! Question!

As developers, do you feel like the tone they set was unique? I felt scared and alone in these games (Until Exile), do you feel like that was intentional? What little things we may overlook contribute to this effect, and how do you feel like you can help to preserve that? I am so looking forward to this. I never beat Riven because I was 10 when it released, but I hope my 25 year old mind can handle it now. Thanks!!

StarryExpanse3 karma

That tone is definitely unique, and an integral part of what makes a Myst game a Myst game, and we want to preserve it as much as we can in our game.

By the way, 25 years old is the perfect age to play Riven again, Gehn would approve!

roland19d8 karma

So looking forward to this. Please pay close attention to the ambient music. It's one of the most memorable pieces of the game for me.

Also: any plans to allow modding or player created levels?

StarryExpanse6 karma

Music is definitely on our list of priorities. If at all possible, we’d like to use the original soundtrack, as we agree it defines Riven’s mood. Failing that, we’ll do our absolute best to recreate that feeling with a new soundtrack.

Mod support is always being discussed, but we haven’t yet decided on anything. It really depends largely on how we go about publishing.

hugothenerd8 karma

  • What is your favourite part of Riven?

  • What is, to you, the most interesting location in Riven?

  • Is there anything you want to change about the actual game? Puzzles, mechanics, voice-actors, anything?

StarryExpanse15 karma

Favorite part of Riven:

Most interesting location in Riven:

  • Everett: The gateroom. The slides found inside the beetles are some of my favorite art in the game. (I actually spent a few weeks working full time to perfectly recreate them in HD for our remake.) Your first time through, you’re likely to not even understand what’s going on in them, but once you start to understand the lore, you see that they tell the backstory leading up to the original Myst.

  • Matt: The Wahrk Throne Room. I love the massive scale of the place and the music makes it quite chilling.

  • Nick: I’d have to agree with Everett. The gateroom is by far my favourite location. The beetle slides, the ink/writing themed symbolism, and the whole thing spins! The easiest puzzle in the game, but one of the most memorable.

  • Zib: I think boiler island is the most interesting location, all the crawling through pipes!

  • Philip: The hallway leading to the temple on Temple Island is pretty creepy and sticks out in my mind. Other than that, the MagLevs (and all the rides, actually) are a really unique part of the game and definitely the most fun.

What we would want to change:

  • Philip: The only thing I’d want to change is something we don’t have to go out of our way to do, which is being able to look around 2π radians. The original game can get pretty confusing when the different views aren’t exactly 90 degrees apart from each other and you can’t see where continuous objects (e.g. pipes on Boiler Island) go.

  • Everett: Apart from obvious aesthetic changes we’re already making, I guess I would make the number game a little less repetitive. Having to repeat the number game over and over when you have all but 2 digits is pretty annoying.

  • Nick: I would allow the player to be able to skip sound-based cutscenes. The gateroom is particularly notorious for not allowing players to skip the rotation sound after the button is pressed.

  • Matt: I would have liked to go outside on 233rd, though only for more immersion and back story. Any gameplay changes have been mentioned by my fellow team members.

  • Zib: Same as Nick :P

Edited: changed Philip's favorite part of Riven.

mzxgiant8 karma

This is awesome; I really hope this project goes from start to finish! :)

  • Since you've stated elsewhere you're planning on using the Unity engine, are you planning on rolling up Rift support down the road? (Since it looks like that engine is going to be getting the stereoscopic-camera support to power that system)

  • Do you see yourselves adding a personal touch, a la Rime from realMyst?

StarryExpanse11 karma

The Rift looks really cool to us too, but no one knows where that project is really going at the moment, and none of us certainly have a dev kit. Still, we love the idea of a virtual reality Riven, and we’re open to it.

On your second question, we don’t have any plans for extra ages, no. We feel the best approach for our remake is to simply recreate the original, which in itself is extremely ambitious. We don’t need extra work on top of that.

ReaperTeK7 karma

[deleted]

StarryExpanse5 karma

We currently have no plans to port the game to mobile platforms, but Unity does support most of them - it’s not entirely outside the realm of possibility, that we could port to modern phone platforms, and maybe Windows Phone, too.

Zahne19776 karma

Please don't destroy your game with cash shops / downloadable content that costs extra money or stupid anti-piracy locks forcing online play.

I'll be happy to purchase it if it doesn't have the above items.

StarryExpanse3 karma

Our original goal was actually just to give away the game for free. We might end up selling it at this point. That’s still up in the air. Really though, we’re not in this for the money. DLC and microtransactions are not planned. :)

adequate_turtle6 karma

Why did you decide to remake Riven?

StarryExpanse9 karma

We love Riven, and we think it deserves the same treatment that Myst got with RealMyst.

ElMabo6 karma

Didn't Ubisoft own the rights to this franchise? I think I saw some books full of concept and CD with the original models in our archives, somewhere...

I am very happy someone take the time to remaster old games like that! Good jobs!

StarryExpanse15 karma

Ubisoft actually lost the rights to the games a few years ago. They were held by GameTap and its parent company for a while, but by now all of the rights for the Myst series have returned to Cyan Worlds.

rehevkor55 karma

You've mentioned that you might be able to use some extra hands... What kind of help are you looking for? I don't suppose you need any programming work done?

StarryExpanse9 karma

We’re always looking for more help, and we do need programmers. If you’re interested in helping out, send us an email - [email protected]!

Owehn5 karma

Are you planning to make this version compatible with both Windows and Mac OS? Or iOS like RealMyst's recent re-release? Have you already begun to compile minimum software and hardware requirements?

StarryExpanse6 karma

Windows and Mac OS versions are planned currently. iOS is not planned, but in the future, after the initial release, anything could be possible.

The hardware requirements are still up in the air as we design the graphics. We aim to make the game playable on a broad range of hardware, though.

riumplus5 karma

[deleted]

StarryExpanse13 karma

Years at this rate. Maybe two, maybe three. Unless we actually decided to work on this full time, at the expense of our real jobs and schoolwork, the work is going to remain slow and steady. Riven is a big, big place to recreate.

Oranges134 karma

This is awesome, though I'm curious if you guys will be sticking to the story or deviating from it?

After reading the 3 books that they wrote, I've always wanted to see more from D'ni!

StarryExpanse9 karma

We’ll absolutely be sticking to the same exact story told in the original, as we feel it’s a great one. We’ll leave it to a different Riven remake team to try and improve it. We think that would be a lost cause. :)

UncleGooch4 karma

These questions are directed to Nick “Shimmey” Mower:

  • How did you get into the game industry in Australia?
  • How did you end up working on RIVEN?

StarryExpanse7 karma

It’s tough, and I’ve not been in the industry very long. I did a TAFE course in game design which got me started, and then I just applied to various mod teams and indie game projects to get some experience working with teams while I sent out many, many showreels to the few game companies around Australia.

Working on a Cyan-approved Riven project is beyond what I could have hoped for, and I was very lucky. I made a few demo models, and they accepted my application.

- Nick

silvergill3 karma

How will you handle the vehicles? IIRC they are very important for navigating the world. It'd be pretty cool if you could drive a submarine around freely.

Best of luck!

StarryExpanse13 karma

Well, all of the game’s vehicles are on linear tracks. The submarine you mention is on a rail at the bottom of that lake. The maglev rides are all on magnetic rails which are very deliberately designed. All of the game’s transports will work the same way as the original.

Here’s a video of one of the maglevs in action in a prototype state.

[deleted]3 karma

[deleted]

StarryExpanse3 karma

Well, in Riven, detail was a big thing. We’d like to experiment with expanding Riven’s very-examinable environment by trying out something called "detailed object view", where you can "pick up" an object and spin it around to get a good look at it.

Also some parts of a scene you can't see in the original game, so we've had to make those up. For instance, directly behind you in the elevator on the upper level of Prison Island.

We've gone through a number of redesigns of our GUI, but we're trying to make it match the (extremely minimal) aesthetic of Riven's menu screens.

rehevkor53 karma

I'd love to make a functioning replica of Gehn's pipe... obviously it'd be awesome if I could base it on an accurate representation of the original. What are the chances that the game would come with a model viewer?

StarryExpanse3 karma

We actually did, at one point, have plans for an in-game model viewer. We are currently unsure if we’re going to be including it.

the_infinite3 karma

At the time Riven came out, it was probably the most visually stunning game ever created. The sense of awe, wonder, and atmosphere it created was like nothing seen before (and some would argue, since).

For me, the only thing that comes close is the remake of Dear Esther. Like Riven, the visuals and atmosphere just floor you. It was the first game since Riven that made me stop playing the game to just stare at the beauty I was witnessing.

Questions:

  1. Have you guys played Dear Esther?

  2. If so, will you be using it as inspiration for your remake of Riven?

Just wanted to say, in case it isn't obvious, Riven is one of my favorite games of all time. Glad to see it's getting attention in 2012!

StarryExpanse4 karma

Dear Esther was incredibly inspiring to us.

Their use of simple techniques to create atmosphere is impressive, and we learned a lot from the Dear Esther team. In fact, we have quite a few in-game recordings from Dear Esther that we use as reference material.