What is the difference between the graphics in MYST and RIVEN?


Example picture from MYST

Simple geometry and low texture resolutions made high contrast between light and shadow in the original MYST. Renders for each Age was displayed in a palette of only 256 colors, which, though expertly devised, limited the tonal range of finished images. The screens had 543x332 pixels, taking up approximately three quarters of the screen. It took about two years to make MYST.

The models in MYST were quite simple. For example, there are whole forests of trees on MYST Island but no leaves. When MYST was originally constructed, each tree was modeled using just two cones -- one for the trunk, and one for the foliage. The ground cover for the entire island is a single texture image painted onto an extruded surface. In all, the island has one tenth of the geometric detail of a RIVEN island.

The palettes used in the Windows version of MYST:

MYST Island Palette Channelwood Age Palette Stoneship Age Palette Selenitic Age Palette Mechanical Age Palette D'ni Palette

Graphics and Construction tools used in MYST:

All images and animations were modeled and rendered on six Macintosh Quadras using StrataVision 3d by Strata, Inc.

  • HyperCard (Apple)
  • Think Pascal (Symantec)
  • Photoshop (Adobe)
  • Premier (Adobe)
  • Illustrator (Adobe)
  • Painter (Fractal Design)
  • Morph (Gryphon Software)

HyperCard was colorized using a proprietary version of Symplex System's HyperTint, written by John Miller.


Example picture from RIVEN

The screens in RIVEN has 608x392 pixels and 256 colors for each image, taking up almost the entire screen.

RIVEN contains over 4,000 fully-rendered scenes and 1,000 QuickTime movies (over three hours of astonishing animation). Some of the scenes took over an hour to render on Cyan's SGI Indigo Workstations (they had 13 of them). At the time the game was made, the various islands which make up RIVEN was the largest wireframe models anyone had been working with. A single RIVEN island is represented by about 2.5 million triangles. Intricate detail can be found throughout RIVEN, from wind-shifted topsoil blanketing a mountainside, to the knotted woodgrain of a table top, to RIVEN shimmering water, which undulates, reflects and glints in the sun. RIVEN was in the making for over four years.

Although the Graphics Engine for RIVEN isn't the exact same engine as was used for MYST, it is very similar. Brøderbund had been working on better visual effects since MYST, likening RIVEN graphics to those in the Mac version of MYST. If you've seen both the Mac and PC versions of MYST, you know the difference.

Graphics and Construction tools used in RIVEN:

The primary modeling/animation program used in RIVEN was SoftImage 3D, with LumeShaders doing different effects such as water, clouds, and wet surfaces. SoftImage 3D is for SGI (Silicon Graphics Indigo) Workstations. The program is made famous for the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park.

  • Alias for rendering
  • DeBabelizer and PhotoShop for texture editing/compositing/touchups
  • Media Cleaner Pro for movie compression
  • HyperCard for prototyping the game/exporting data files to Broderbund/Sunsoft/etc.

Which island is which in RIVEN?

Temple Island (T)

This is the Island where you arrive. Here is the Beetle Room, the Golden Dome, the Temple and the Telescope.

Jungle Island (J)

This is the island with the village, the lake with the sub, the great jungle and the sunner's lagoon.

Book Assembly Island (B)

This is the island with the lake, the boiler, the wood chipper and green lake inside the island's great crater. Here you also can find the frog trap and Gehn's lab.

Survey Island (originally Garden Island) (G)

This is the island with the spikes coming up from the water, the fortress looking building, the 3D pin map. Here you can also find Gehn's underwater throne, and the golden elevator. The island is also known as Survey Island, Garden Island, Map Island, and Plateau Island.

Prison Island (P)

This is the little islands with the great tree stump, and Catherine's prison cell.

Age 233 (O)

The age where you find Gehn's Office, the five linking books and his bedroom.

Tay (R)

Also called Rebel Age or Moiety Age with it's huge hive. The place you find yourself after linking through the book in the animal stone room.

What is RIVEN Movie Player and RIVEN Movie Snoop and where do I get it?

RIVEN Movie Player (for PC) and RIVEN Movie Snoop (for Mac) is some nice applications that enables you to look through the different CD-ROM's and play all of the available movies, including all of the alternate endings and a few movies that aren't part of the game (like Gehn strolling around his office singing an Italian aria). The programs come with a little Readme file pointing you to a couple of interesting clips.

How do I make my own Startup/Shutdown screens in Win95/98?

The process of making Windows Startup/Shutdown screens can be completed in these six steps:

  1. Open the pictures you want to have as Startup/Shutdown screens in an image editor (Paint Shop Pro, Photoshop etc.)
  2. Resize the images to 320 x 400 pixels.
  3. Reduce the number of colors to 256.
  4. Save the pictures as Windows Bitmap (bmp) files.
  5. Open a file manager and rename the saved files: Startup screen: logo.sys First Shutdown Screen: logos.sys Last Shutdown logow.sys
  6. Put them into the correct directory (if there already is Startup/Shutdown screens in these directories, take back-ups of these): logo.sys in your root directory (C:\) logos.sys and logow.sys in your windows directory (C:\Windows)

All MYST images and text © 1993 Cyan, Inc. All rights reserved MYST ® Cyan, Inc.

All RIVEN images and text © 1996, 1997 Cyan, Inc. All rights reserved RIVEN ® Cyan, Inc.