Solid Materials

Our artists have been hard at work adding to the material library, our collection of commonly used surfaces that can be used in combination to recreate the detailed environments of Riven. Here are some recent examples, all created by texture artist Jacek Kalinowski!

Red dirt and basalt rock, Boiler Island

Our material system allows us to blend these surfaces together based on a texture mask, which gives our artists a lot of control over the fine details of each asset.

Deposited limestone, Survey Island

Riven is a world of stark natural beauty contrasted against intricate machinery, and our material system allows us to reproduce it in the highest possible detail. From the fine sand on the shore of Boiler Island’s volcanic lake, to the wear and tear on the Fire Marble Dome.

Rough brick, Survey Island


Welcome to our new team members!
Brandon Kouri (3D Artist)
Nathan Grove (3D Artist)

23 Responses to “Solid Materials”.

Team members' usernames are in red.
  • ben Says:

    have you guys given any consideration to making your own original exploration/puzzle computer game after you’re done with starry expanse?

  • Ant Says:

    Loving them textures. That brick texture alone is drool worthy.

  • tim Says:

    will there be a playable demo again?

  • P-K-V Says:

    I am loving the quality and faithfulness of the textures; great work guys!

  • The Green Butterfly Says:

    Those textures look really realistic, the bricks even seem to have some depth! Now is my question: if you would stand very close to the wall, wouldn’t you see that the depth is just an optical illusion caused by the textures or will the models receive some real depth on the places the textures shows it?
    I always thought that in Gehn’s Age something seemed wrong with the brick pillars, and I think I found out why: the places where there is mortar between the bricks, the model has the same depth as the bricks, but the textures look like the mortar is a little bit deeper than the bricks (which also look more rough than the models shows them to be), as one would expect from a brick structure. The combination of a suggestion of depth in the textures and a lack of depth in the models tells my mind I’m not looking at a real thing but at a computer simulation. If you could iron these wrinkels out (or in, in this case), RealRiven would be a true masterpiece and it couldn’t look any more real in my eyes. It wouldn’t be an easy job, but it’s well worth the wait!

    • Andross Says:

      You can use bump mapping to create the different layers you’re talking about, which realistically deals with light etc. (which is what your brain notices most of the time). If well done it holds up to everything except looking at it from an oblique angle since it’s actually still a flat surface.

      • Andross Says:

        Creating geometry with every crack and seam would result in massive file and terrible performance.

        • Eric Says:

          Actually, correct me if I’m wrong, but it looks to me that in THESE images of bricks, the mortar and bricks really ARE at different levels. Even the bricks themselves are sticking out at different levels. Look closely at the edges of the brick structures… or am I seeing things? (P.S., if this is truly the case, I like it! :-))

          • The Green Butterfly Says:

            I noticed that too! If those brick walls are really completely flat, and that depth is just a trick (bump mapping right?), it’s a very good one! Maybe the wall isn’t flat, and the seams at the corners are indeed at a different level because that’s the first place you’ll notice if the wall looks real or not. Making the walls not exactly flat (like sheet of paper that has been pressed into a ball and folded open again) may also create the illusion of stones sticking out more than others without adjusting every stone by hand to make it look unique and keep the files as small as possible. If every wall in Riven will look as real as these, it would be epic!

          • Robert Says:

            Likely this is done with a heightmap. The cube still has a flat surface as far as the geometry goes, but the height map allows an inexpensive way to create more complicated rendering.

            Heightmaps are typically used for smaller objects, like brick walls in this example. You wouldn’t want to do heightmaps on something large like, say, terrains. That is where you want to geometrically model the polygons to the shape (or close to it), then rely on heightmaps and Level of Detail (LOD) to determine when to activate those heightmaps for smaller, more granular details that would be too expensive to render out with geometry.

  • Flake Says:

    Step by step moving forward that’s beautiful. 🙂

  • Robert Says:

    Looking good! Can’t wait to see an entirely traversable island fully textured up.

    Are these textures created in Substance or Quixel? Using Megascans?

  • Gr Says:

    Congratulations on collaboration and progress.

  • Flake Says:

    Nice Eastern

  • Ghenius Says:

    Amazing work as always!

    I have a cool idea! How about, when the player completes the game (good ending), another game-mode gets unlocked. This would be just like normal mode, just with access to some additional places.

    It does not have to require much work (I guess), additional areas can just be places you are modeling anyways that are normally not possible to walk to, like the outside of Gehns lab, or there could be added a wood plank between the huts on Jungle Island so you can walk over to more of them. Would not make the game harder for newbies but would be awesome for us die hard fans!

    Alternatively this mode could just be an option in the settings you could check to enable (“nerd mode” or something).


  • Peter Weersing Says:

    Great to see how this timeless masterpiece slowly but surely gets his “real-time” shape.
    I still play Riven, just to see, hear and feel the atmosphere. There has never been a game, not even in the Myst series itself, better than Riven in it’s genre. I therefore admire your effort. It took Cyan 4 years to create this masterpiece. Quality takes time, so thank you in advance for taking this time.

    Looking forward! And can wait, i got the original to keep me calm 😉

    Keep up the great work everybody!

  • Peter Weersing Says:


    I think that is an excellent idea. I for one was always disappointed that you couldn’t get in to Catherine’s cell after you saved her. More on that later.

    Some huts on jungle island are indeed missing boards (Gang planks if you will) to reach them. If you look close at the one hut you CAN reach (Where you knock 5 times and a pair of eyes come stare at you) HAS a plank. Wouldn’t it be cool if:
    1. You could use this plank to reach the other ones. And in order to use the planks it should be released because it is now attached somehow (Puzzle oppurtunity)
    2. You could find these pieces of wood scattered around riven. Then they could have different sizes, so the planks correspond to the hut. This way the order of entering the huts could come in to play to have more puzzle opportunities.

    Then for Catherine’s cell.
    First there needs to be created a way to get into the cell again. The elevator is out of the question. But what if we got the ability to throw something up there. Say a linking book. This could be challenge nr. 1 for the new quest. Find this book. Or books, say a sending and receiving book.
    Goal is to reach the cell. This could be an excellent opportunity to find say a journal she kept or a linking book she (or Ghen) hid. Just by thinking of this makes me want to write a side story….

    Maybe i will!

  • Peter Weersing Says:

    My appologies! That of course should have been @Ghenius….

    • The Green Butterfly Says:

      That question has been asked many times in the past, and when they were answered, they said they just want to make a 3D copy of the game, not add extra stuff to it.

  • Peter Weersing Says:

    I’m affraid your right The Green Butterfly. I think it’s not even permitted to adjust anything in the game on purpose without Cyan’s permission. And they shouldn’t for that matter. Respect the product as is and wil become.
    It was fun to have these thougthts on how to do things different though. So, just for me, I’m going to write a new part of Riven. Just to figure out what would happen if….. Because it has not yet been written…..

  • B Says:

    Please provide links to the team member’s websites (if available). Listing just their names does not give us an idea of their work.

  • Jonathan Says:

    I’ve been following this project for a while, and there’s something I’ve been wondering about it. As I understand it you have Cyan’s support, and they’ve sent you some materials to help you recreate Riven in 3D. If that’s the case, why is it necessary to recreate Riven’s textures from scratch? Why can’t Cyan send you the same textures that they used originally?

Leave a Reply