Sunday, June 19, 2011

Project: Starry Expanse

Happy Sunday everyone!

When I was kid, I was very interested in the "Myst" franchise. It was a very challenging game: you needed to figure out what to do each step of the game with no real direction. My friend and I played it for about 2 months before finally getting to the end.

It was followed by a sequel, called Riven, which if anything was 10 times more challenging.

There were 3 more sequels to the original, but made by difference companies. They were fun names nonetheless, but never really had the charm and appeal of the originals Myst&Riven.

Myst&Riven were "semi-3D", basically a series of still images that you clicked on to go the next still. You could click to move forwards, up, down, left, right, to give you an artificial feeling of being in a 3D environment. Given the limited technology at the time (circa. 1993), this was pretty ground breaking.

Later, a remake of the original was created called "realMyst". Gameplay was nearly identical to the first, but instead of still images, the game was recreated with a brilliant 3D engine allowing for full range of access across the environment, day/night effects, weather effects and more.

It was very exciting and while playing realMyst it gave me a wonderful feeling of nostalgia + intrigue. "This was the way Myst was meant to be played..." I said to myself. The idea was just ahead the technology at the time.

But my thoughts immediately jumped to the next most logical question: Would there ever be a realRiven?

Myst was later re-released to multiple platforms including the DS, PSP and iPhone.

Unfortunately, they seemed to only like releasing the good old-fashioned "still-based" navigation system, rather then an immersible 3D environment. Personally, I never understood this choice, as the immersible environment I felt would have a better chance of bringing in new fans.

Logically, if they did that, realRiven could follow (and possibly with game 3&4, 5 was already based on the full 3D environment).

But no 3D remakes of the other games never surfaced. Why? I cannot stay, but that hasn't stopped a group of fans from recreating the sequel in 3D themselves!

The project is called Starry Expanse. If you're a Myst fan you'll get the reference. If not, go get yourself a copy of realMyst (I believe it's on Steam), beat it, and then you'll get the reference.

This is a very neat project! Recreating a game in real time 3D is no small feat, so I wish them the best of luck. You can even make a donation on their site (I did) and get your name in the Credits!

Check out their site for more info. It's a really great project and will hopefully help open Myst & Riven to a new world of fans.

Take care!

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