The Sketches

All these four images is screen caps from the "Making of Riven"-movie included on a CD-ROM for MacWorld Magazine. The top two images are from the filming of the guys at cyan planning the outlook of Jungle Island. The pictures on the bottom is two early sketches of a maglev. As we see the maglev's engine is put in two different positions. In the first image the engine is placed on the back, and in the second it is placed on the top which became it's final position.

The Advertisings

These are some of the posters and ads used to advertise Riven in stores and magazines:

On the concrete floor outside Catherine's prison you find a linking book to Prison Island. Strange...

This ad appeared in the back of one of the Myst comics.

This is the strangest Riven advert I have ever seen. Try if you can find 1) A view of the Jungle Island Village 2) A dagger 3) Riven's web address.

This poster was used to market Riven in Japan. It shows an eye looking through a crack in a rock wall. Reflecting off the iris is a rendering from Survey Island.

An ad from a computer magazine.

Another computer magazine ad for Riven.

The Characters

This is some of the photos of the people from Riven not seen in the game. Above you see a picture taken on the grounds of Cyan's headquarters, showing Sheila Goold (Catherine), Rand Miller, and Robyn Miller. The green picture is of the same rivenese woman as the ones to the right. The first image to the right contains many smaller photos that were taken when they were filming of some of the scenes in Riven. This is: Atrus running out of the cage, Nelah visiting you in the cell, Catherine in her prison, 'Cho' stealing your book, Gehn's office, and the rebel opening the linking cage. The next three images to the right shows different rivenese people. The one with the blue background appeared in an article in the November 25th issue of Newsweek.

Gehn's Smoker

This image is taken from Cyan's main D'ni page. I have seen this object referred to as a 'daban', but I don't know if the name is official. It is used together with Gehn's pipe, and does probably contain frog extract.

The Bolos

The bolos were worn by the Moiety. The heavy, sand-filled leather balls and long leather thongs, are twirled and thrown to entangle an opponent's legs. I don't know if they are visible in Riven or not.

Jeremy A. Engleman's own Renderings

Jeremy A. Engleman was one of the CGI artists that worked on Riven. One of the his key areas was The Lagoon on Jungle Island. It was modeled in SoftImage|3D 3.51, and rendered using Mental Ray. Textures were refined in Photoshop 4.0. The first image to the right Jeremy rendered for his own portfolio. On the second image he superimposed the wireframe version over the rendering in order to see where the water intersected the ground. In that way he could paint the mask for the wet texture on the sand. If you take a closer look at the third picture, "Sappho at the Whark Rocks", you may recognize the rocks she is standing on. Jeremy explains that he was experimenting with incorporating old mythology and new mythology.

The Lagoon

Jeremy's comment: "The lagoon was another of my key areas. Something to note in these images is the complex transition between the natural surfaces. Note how the rock transitions into sand, and the sand transitions into wet sand, which submerges and transitions into the lagoon floor. Also notice how the shallow lagoon water transitions into the open ocean."

The Paths

Jeremy's comment: "During Riven: The Sequel to Myst, I served as a modeller and scene coordinator. I modelled objects and placed them within these worlds. Objects needed to be placed naturalistically, yet serve their purpose. The treed field was one of my key areas. The scene consisted of thousands of objects, from large paths and trees, down to weeds, pebbles, and ropes on the various structures."

The Car Ride

Jeremy's comment: "Another significant portion of the Riven universe I created was the Lumber Car Ride. This is a wild and fast roller coaster ride through an underwater bubble. The entire scene was developed using Softimage's Expressions, which relate one element of a scene to another, so that the scene became a living system. If one element of the scene needed adjusting, such as the water height, the path of the lumber car, or the timing, everything else in the scene updated around it, including the rails, the support beams, and the bubble surrounding the lumber car."

A Mystical Paper

This picture appeared among other screen shots from Riven in Wired Magazine's "Riven-issue" (it was a picture of Rand, Robyn and Richard van der Wende on the cover). It is very hard to read what the note says, but I think the first line says: Gaza frigiani libyaim. (did anybody hear the sound of a bell? - I didn't) From there on the letters gets less readable. The words does not look D'ni, but some say that it looks like latin. For instance the first word gaza is a latin word that means treasure in english. If you want to try to figure out the rest, here's a online Latin-English Dictionary

Update: An anonymous contributor says the text appears to be a pangram in Latin: "Gaza frequens libycum duxit Karthago triumphum" -- fragmented and repeated several times for filler's sake.

A Riven Preview

The rightmost picture is a mirrored version of a scene in the game. The left one is a test image from the same place (the "Map Rocks"), but from a slightly different angle. On the test image there are no pipes going out of the top of the rocks, and if you look closely you can see some kind of vases on the edges of the cracks. The picture appeared on the cover of the "Myst Paraphernalia" catalog.

The Timepiece

These images are of Gehn's timepiece found on his bedroom table in Age 233. The first two images are from the fourth "Riven Journal". There has been a discussion among the Riven fans about what the D'ni symbol for zero is. Looking at the large version of the first image shows clear a square with a slash where zero is supposed to be. Richard A. Watson at Cyan has later explained that the font used while making the timepiece had a wrong symbol for zero. The right symbol is a box with a dot in the center.

Gehn's Chair

This is the chair you can see in the picture of Gehn's original lab below. Like the lab it was not used in the final version of the game. The texture of the chair was made from a scan of one of Richard Vander Wende's hand. In "From Myst to Riven" it says that the it was the texture of Gehn's bed that was made from the hand scan. This is wrong. Richard A. Watson at Cyan has told us this: "The paragraph in question sounds like it is based on a talk Richard Kadrey had with Richard Vander Wende. Whether it was Richard Vander Wende who mixed up the story in the telling, or Kadrey who mixed up the discription in FMtR, I don't have any idea. Tony Davidson was the artist who modeled and textured Gehn's bed, so I'm taking his word for it that he knew which texture he used. So I asked Josh Staub about the scanned hand. Was it used, and if so, did he know where. Yes. Josh used the texture of RVW's hand for the leather of Gehn's chair (however, the chair wasn't used in Riven)."

Places Originally Planned to be in Riven

Gehn's Lab

This is an unused picture of Gehn's lab or office that Cyan discarded when they made Riven. It can be seen on the Making of Riven video. Among other interesting things you can see a beautiful, high backed wooden chair, with leather seat covers and back rest. It looks old, and it is very ornated.

The English Garden

This picture can be seen in the new making of Riven video. It is an early image of a rendering of Survey Island (at that time Garden Island) before Gehn destroyed the Gardens when he terraformed the plateaus. Cyan decidet to put it out because they found it a bit to "Mystlike". The picture was shown while Robyn was saying "It wasn't like we knew the ropes, going into Riven. The world was just SO different. We were kind of like trying, we were stumbling around, trying to find a style for this thing. Most of our stumbling around was still a little bit too much in the direction of MYST. It still had a... kind of that romantic architecture."

Looking Down

This image is the completed image from a contest at a games site called HappyPuppy. They had a contest last year before Riven was released. You would search their site for pieces of the image and then the first person to put it together and enter the contest would win a trip to New Zealand. The image when completed led to a url that would give you a secret word or something like that. Thanks to Lessa Benden for the picture and the info.

The Rivenese Hunting Sickle

The sickle is used by the villagers for hunting, defense and even ceremonial dances. In the hands of a skilled hunter, the sickle is sometimes thrown. The blade and spikes have an engraved zigzag pattern - a typical motif of villager art.

The Sunners

The first picture above shows an underwater view of three sunners. It appeared in a magazine ad for Cyan in issue #66 - June '96 of Cinefex. The second picture shows the texture used on the sunners' skin.

Gehn's Weapons

The broad-bladed dagger are given to young recruits who are joining Gehn's elite guard force as a customary last rite-of-passage.

Gehn's gun is powered by strange explosive marbles, and features an unusual cocking mechanism at the rear handle, and a bayonet which rests on the barrel.

Gehn's Crest

Wahrk Bones & Gallows


You can access this place in the game, but you can't see this picture. Here you can see the elevator approaching the lower level from the other end of the corridor.

East Path

This picture is from the 1997 Myst calendar. It was taken before Gehn had built the maglevs, and there were still wooden bridges between the islands. The wooden pathway is no longer there, but you can still see that grove of trees briefly during the maglev ride from the Jungle Island to the Garden Island. Read more at Richard A. Watson's own page.

The Cannen

The first image above is from Virgin's Riven Soundtrack page. The second is from Cyan's Rendering Image-page.

Gehn's Ink Stand

From Cyan's Rendering Image-page. Notice that on this image the beetle has no hole on the top for the ink. Also, notice that the brown "knob" shows to left from the beetle's point of view instead of to the back. Compare it with the wireframe model on this page. Thanks to Sebastian Ochs for pointing this out.

The Game in Production

This is one of the 3-D artists on Riven, Michael Sheets, a well-known Spokane-based artist. He is sitting in front of a screen with the wireframe model of the upper level of Survey Island. On the computer in the background you can see the open spinning dome on Temple Island. Thanks to Stewart Bradford and Rod Keller for help on this one.

The Daggers

These moiety knifes were never used as a weapon, but as the representative symbol of the moiety.

The Maglev

A picture from The Riven Journals.

Gehn's View

This picture is taken from Virgin's Riven Soundtrack page. You can also find a high-res version of it in the Riven Soundtrack booklet and in From Myst to Riven. If you put many copies of this picture side by side they will become a seamless pattern.

The Wireframe Models

Wireframe models were used by the 3D artists to create both objects and landscapes in Riven. These models are later used with textures and computer generated lightening to render the final images you see in the game.

A screenshot from SoftImage, the main 3D modeling program Cyan used in Riven
The bridge from the Beetle Room to the golden dome in both raised and lowered positions
The bridge from Beetle Room to the top of the Golden Dome
A view of the same bridge from the lower level of the Golden Dome
The wireframe model of the golden elevator in down position
The Prison Island
A maglev on one of Survey Island's maglev stations
Gehn's ink stand
A sunner
The same model as above

"Hidden" pictures on the Riven CDs

On the Riven CDs there are some images that were removed from the final version of the game, but they were not removed from the resource files. Thanks to a guy named Rusty, who has patiently altered the Riven save-files to see every little picture on some of the Riven CDs, you can now see a couple of images you have never seen before.

The Book Press

This is the machine which were removde from the game because almost all the beta testers thought they had to do something with it to solve the game. It is possible to operate the press, but it disappears when you leave the screen. You can download the saved game-file here.

The Elevator

As you can see, there was no dome elevator before. Instead there was a strange ladder going down to a door leading to an underground corridor. Especially remarkable is the fact that the older variant is playable - you can walk the corridor, which is twice shorter than the original one, open and shut the shaft door, even enter the shaft, but then the game hangs. You can download the saved game-file here.

The Lagoon

These are some shots from the Lagoon on Jungle Island which cannot be accessed in the game. Why is not known, but it may have been a mistake. You can download the saved game-file here.

Gehn's Butterflies

In-game you are not able to open this drawer containing beautiful butterflies, but using a tool called Riven Picture Viewer you can! Thanks to Bryant Millet A.K.A. Tahnir for figuring this out.

Early Design Scetches

I've been corresponding a bit with Robyn Miller who has been generous enough to let me share some of the files from his vault with you. More of these can be found in Myst pictures not apperaring in the game

When Myst and Riven were in the makings, Robyn sometimes used Adobe Illustrator either to work out his designs, to create cleaner versions of previous designs, or even to establish flowcharts of the entire game.

Robyn: "Gehn's garden island in grayscale. If you import this into a 3-D program and extrude it, you'll end up with something very similar to what you see in Riven!"

Anybody wants to try? Please share your results!

Download the original Adobe Illustrator file

Robyn: "This was in place of what eventually became the cave with the heavy, stone door."

Download the original Adobe Illustrator file

Displacement Map Renderings

Survey Island Rendering

A Displacement Map is a grayscale image that describes the height differences in a terrain. The lighter color, the higher is the landscape. JT Spataro found the Survey Island map posted above, and decided to try to make a 3D render from it. He found that the image was actually inverse of what a regular grayscale map should be. Usually the more white, the more displacement. After inverting the image, extruding and quickly texture it with a similar method used by Cyan's LumeShaders (applying texture by height), he ended up with the result seen here.

Temple Island Rendering

JT Spataro also found the Temple Island displacement map on an artist page that talked about different components of Softimage XSI in 1997. When displacement mapping was demonstrated the Temple Island map was listed. You can see the map and rendering, with an additional displacement map for Prison Island to the right and below.

Temple Island Displacement Map Prison Island Displacement Map