Crossing Over: Boiler Bridge

In converting a classic point-and-click adventure game like Riven to real-time 3D, many systems need to be reworked or tweaked to make the best use of the player’s newfound freedom of movement. Some, like control schemes for walking around in 3D space, have been tried and tested in many other games and we have a wealth of playtesting data to draw upon when making design decisions. Others, like the following example, can be more difficult to elegantly solve.

This is the bridge that spans the expanse of ocean between Boiler and Temple Islands, and we’ve cleverly called it ‘Boiler Bridge’. This bridge is very, very long.

In the original game, the player can cross the bridge in a trivial 9 clicks (or just 1, if using zip-mode). At our current player speed in realRiven, it takes approximately 45 seconds. This is a really long time to be holding down a button and staring forward, especially since the exploratory nature of the game means new players will be crossing multiple times.

The walk to Boiler Island, at three times the regular speed.

This is not the only example of long distances made difficult in real-time. Boiler Island also has several lengthy sequences in pipes and ducts that have the same problem. Luckily, these only need to be traversed once.

We have explored multiple methods to speed up the journey from Temple to Boiler without disrupting the player experience. Cutscenes, teleportation, and simply upping the player speed have all been considered and rejected for the same reason – it interferes with the player’s freedom of exploration and/or feels too ‘gamey’.

Surely a pontoon bridge would be safer.

We are currently exploring a way of cutting the travel time in half by moving the bridge underneath the player as they cross. This gives an appearance of moving at regular speed while at the same time moving towards the distant environment at double speed. Our newest team member, Hollister Starrett, has been hard at work on a prototype of this feature.

We hope to playtest this system alongside our navigation mechanics very soon, but in the meantime we are interested to hear any ideas you may have to solve this design problem. Have we missed something blindingly obvious? All ideas are welcome!

81 Responses to “Crossing Over: Boiler Bridge”.

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

    Although the ‘moving bridge’ is a very interesting idea to explore and it seems to be working quite well, I’m not sure it won’t become obvious after some passes that the distant environment is speeding up and slowing down in relation to us? There’s also the issue of the ‘seam’ of the moving and the static parts of the bridge, but you may already have ideas about that.

    Personally I don’t think I would mind if the player character automatically starts running when crossing the bridge. Maybe such an idea was rejected for feeling ‘gamey’, but if the illusion of the moving breaks that is even more so the case, I would think.

    • Hollister Says:

      We’ve definitely considered that, though it would seem that there’s nothing too close to the bridge to give a point of reference for the parallax. The only thing is the geometry at the ends of the bridge, but we actually have a solution for this which the post doesn’t mention. The speed of the player is slowly ramped up and down so that you’re at the fastest when you’re in the middle of the bridge. This makes it pretty hard to tell you’re speeding up, because by the time you’re full-speed, the edges of the bridge are far enough away it’s pretty difficult to tell. And there definitely is the issue of the seam, that’s something we haven’t fully addressed yet, though I have some ideas for a solution, personally.

  • tor Says:

    Feels like you’re overthinking this. Why not just let it take 45 seconds if you walk at regular speed, and have an easy to use control for running? You could even implement zip mode with a target placed at each interesting point along the bridge. The player will maybe walk at normal slow speed once (which is OK – this is a pretty cool moment in the game), then realize that there is nothing to interact with on the bridge, then run and/or use zip mode after that.

    I suppose there aren’t a whole lot of other place where running at this speed makes sense, but maybe running speed could be dynamic?

    • Vincent Says:

      Completely agree with Tor : no big deal, if it takes 45 seconds in real life, let’s keep it that way. This is what realism is about after all, right ? Just make sure the player can run, by holding Ctrl for example. But the idea of the bridge moving under your feet ?? wtf ? nah, it will look more like a glitch and purists definitely won’t like that, well I don’t.

  • J64 Says:

    It probably sucks for a multitude of reasons (not authentic to the original, would break immersion if noticed, etc.), but this idea popped into my head as I was reading the article and I figured I’d throw it out there just in case it sparks a better idea.

    Make an “alternate universe” with a shorter bridge. The doors leading to the bridge would act as portals that take the player to this shorter version of the bridge for when they cross it, then the doorway on the other end would return them back to the normal world.

    And a worse idea, just because I think it’s totally ridiculous: Put a moped or a segway at the end of the bridge for the player to ride across.

  • imonobor Says:

    That is a neat idea, I remember Serious Sam: The Second Encounter had a similar system in areas that had no borders. Basically, when you move outside the boundries of the map, it silently moves you back. It had a flaw though, walking outside the boundries while looking backwards at the map disabled this and you could actually get really far from the map. Is walking backwards in RealRiven a thing and how are you gonna handle that problem?

  • Robert Says:

    Personally, I think you should take a page from Obduction’s book (and what other PC FPS games have done), and add a run feature to the Shift button. Hold shift + WASD and move around at a faster pace. Or add the option to hit Caps Lock for run (like in Obduction).

    You allow player agency to remain intact (actually adding to it) and give the extra option for those who wish to traverse faster in other places. And while speaking of player agency, your team is already going to allow them to go places and see things you couldn’t in the original Riven, like as in realMyst being able to deviate from the normal pathway of the original game (like walking on the grass).

    I’m sure the team has discussed this option amongst the others listed, but I feel this would be the simplest and best option.

  • jnm2 Says:

    1. This experiment is really really cool, I hope you keep it or something like it.

    2. Another idea is non-Euclidean space, where the distance is just shorter when you’re in the area of the bridge. It might be hard to work against your game engine to accomplish this, but it would be freaking awesome. I’ve seen various ways to do this in realtime 3D.

    One less math-intense way would be to literally adjust the map to move the islands closer together while you’re near the bridge and snap back while you’re in the tunnel on Boiler Island and while you’re entering the dome on Temple Island.

    3. You’d better give us a run key for the entire game either way.


    • Tom Says:

      At the risk of sacrilege (but please hear me out, I’m actually a colossal Riven fan – it’s basically the game against which I measure all others – and I’ve given it some thought over the years), and if possible given the geography of the power pipe network between the domes and the map puzzles and so on, I’d be tempted to suggest simply moving those two islands closer together permanently.

      My reasoning is that, for both narrative and engineering principles, it just wouldn’t actually have made sense for Gehn to have built such a colossal footbridge when he built the far more sophisticated trams across almost all other gaps of similar sizes, other than the mine cart (which is also still far more advanced than that rickety bridge!). The only sensible engineering reason to go for a simple footbridge is if the gap to be spanned is significantly smaller than all the others. Narratively, and given that impatience is core to Gehn’s character, he himself would surely not have tolerated such a tediously long walk.

      However, there is one possible narrative reason to justify what is, and always has been, this rather silly bit of civil engineering. Maybe it was the first bridge Gehn built, and he typically did it as simply as possible with little interest in something apparently so trivial, then realised the poorness of his design and so used trams and mine carts for all the others. If the texturing and modelling of the bridge can be tweaked sufficiently to make it look a much, much older structure than the rest of Temple and Factory islands’ architectures, people might be more accepting of its existence. Then again, since the bridge leads directly to the great dome, which he built to power his books, which IIRC was *after* he built the trams, this theory might not work chronologically. Alternatively, maybe the bridge was originally much shorter and he just had to keep extending it as the islands drifted apart.

      Regardless, this analysis suggests another option – the bridge is clearly rickety and a classic example of Gehn’s impatient, brute-force style of overblown, flawed and inelegant engineering. Perhaps, therefore, simply getting across it should be an experience in itself, which might neatly alleviate player boredom. Make it sway violently in gusts of wind, guy wires creaking and whipping ominously. Make those overly long, straight spans sag and bounce badly as people cross them, moreso if they run! (what’s the word on this thing having a physics engine? :-P) Make the roaring wind rise to deafening levels as one gets out onto the open expanse and away from the shelter of the rocks. Don’t shorten the journey if you can make the journey more interesting!

      • Tom Says:

        Even better, if the ocean’s going to be animated (oh please, let this be so!), you could have huge waves crash and spray up against the exposed centre of the bridge!

      • Hollister Says:

        I believe the canonical reason that the bridge exists is actually that, since the islands started as one big land mass and slowly started to separate (or rive, if you will), so in the beginning, all the islands were originally connected with those bridges, and for a very long time after that. Those two islands are still the closest to each other, and as a result, that’s the last connection that hasn’t required a MagLev, though in theory it would also eventually get replaced.
        However, I do like your suggestion and by no means am I disregarding it! I appreciate the input and will make sure to mention it to the team.

  • Cameron Says:

    I would suggest a sprint feature for bursts of speed over short distances, this will keep players from running for long distances non stop.
    It also means the game mechanics for crossing the bridge to be already established.
    When a player gets to the bridge allow the player to sprint the enter length of the bridge instead of the short distance normally allowed.
    I hope this helps, and keep up the great work

    • Cameron Says:

      Also a sprint (Rather then run) function would be nice in those situations when, in the original game you have a trapped feeling during cut scenes.

      For instance, When you see the priest with the book and he flees, I think we all felt a little frustrated that all we could do was stand there.
      Imagine if we could have not just walked but sprinted after him, of course we still wouldn’t be able to catch him but being able to sprint makes the player feel like he just barely missed him.

    • Emily Says:

      This is definitely the option I agree with it. While I agree with the ‘just allow sprinting’ crowd’s point that it doesn’t feel ‘gamey’ and doesn’t need any fancy additions or modifications, I also agree with the other crowd that constant sprinting can often ruin the experience for many players.

      Having the option to sprint for a limited time both solves the bridge problem as well as avoiding excessive sprinting, thus appeasing both crowds.

      • Emily Says:

        (plus, as an addendum, I love the point that this could prevent the ‘trapped’ feeling around cutscenes by giving the player the illusion of total control; kudos, Cameron! 😀 )

  • jnm2 Says:

    Following the same principle, there’s also no reason the inside of the temple can’t be bigger than the island its on. Portal teleports you in exactly the same way.

  • RiverThomas Says:

    If you do end up putting this feature in, I’d really like it if there’s a setting to turn this on/off. Kinda like how you could enable/disable zip mode in the original.

    What I think would be a way better solution though is just a run option. I’m guessing since most games have this, including Obduction, you’ve probably already thought about a “hold shift to run” type system, and you probably already have reasons why you think it won’t fit in this game. However, with such a large game as Riven, running would really help when going back/forth to solve puzzles. Not just the bridge, but any part would get boring if you have to walk slowly but go past it 20 times because you’re trying to solve a puzzle, the only difference being that the bridge is straight instead of having corners, but that doesn’t mean that in other areas going slow when you keep going back and forth isn’t annoying. If there was a run feature, I’d much rather use that on the bridge than this almost skipping/teleporting feature.

    If you’re really looking for something specific for this bridge though, have you considered slowly going faster depending on where on the bridge you are? At the start/end of the bridge you’re at normal speed, in the center at fastest, and it lerps between. That way it wouldn’t really be too noticable, which may work (though you’d have to reset the speeding up/down if the player stops halfway so you wouldn’t shoot off if you decide to stop walking halfway across).

  • Ian Says:

    While I think the solution you’ve got is pretty elegant, I don’t necessarily think the supporting pillars should also be moving with the bridge. When you get close to the island at the end, you can see them run up the coastline and eventually disappear at the end.

  • GreighSkukk Says:

    Maybe I’m in the minority, but 45 seconds wouldn’t bother me very much. It’s a long bridge. It SHOULD take awhile to walk across it. Part of the immersion as far as I’m concerned. My vote is to leave it as is and move onto other designs.

  • Aaron P. Says:

    Have you considered a ferry/cart/tram, perhaps only available after traversing on foot once? As you say, the original designers got around the issue by simply reducing the number of cells between one end and another. You don’t have that luxury – one step is always one step in real-time. Faithfulness to the original may have to take a back seat to gameplay on this one.

    That said, I personally have no problem with a ‘long walk’ from one end to the other. It’s not like we’re talking about several minutes of inactivity. Maybe you just spice it up a bit with some dynamic scenery below/to the side, or add a zip-mode like prompt after crossing it once for the incurably impatient. I think you’ll find that most players already know what they are getting into as far as an exploration / puzzle game.

  • mors Says:

    You don’t need to over engineer this. Just add a run feature alongside walk. Run is 3 times as fast. Obduction has it, Uru has it. Every other game has it. And it’s a feature you have to add anyway, as I doubt you’ll have zip mode, and after a while it’ll be quite boring to walk at snail pace after visiting the same area many times.

  • K'laamas Says:

    I’m still curious why you don’t want to implement a “Run” feature–it seems like the logical real-time equivalent of zip-mode. And even though this isn’t an acrobatic-avatar-type-game (like, say, Uru), I’ve always thought the ability to run (& to jump & crouch) would add to the real ness of 1st person, real-time games. (Not being able to jump or crouch to peek over or under objects was a little annoying at times in Obduction)

  • GotGears? Says:

    This is awesome! If you can get this to work seamlessly I think you should include it regardless of if there is a run or not because the run likely won’t be 3x speed so it’ll still be a long trip. Especially for the tunnels you mention, I think this is incredibly clever!

  • Samphire Says:

    Are you still planning on including a 1:1(ish) node-based point-and-click mode, or is wasd 3d movement the only option planned for now? This problem vanishes if you zoom from original node to original node.

  • Antony Says:

    There are some areas not even this long where I’d appreciate kicking on the run toggle.
    No need for tricks; I think leaving Riven geometry as is will allow players to appreciate its scale, or find other means of transportation if it’s that annoying. If we’re talking zip points, perhaps you could make entire islands zippable. Some will appreciate the game mechanics.

  • mystman12 Says:

    You know, I feel like most everything in this game should be as realistic as possible. If I came to this bridge in real life, I’d have to walk across it in its entirety, or I could run across it. Couldn’t you just add a run button, and allow players to run across if they desire, and walk if they wanted to take in the view?

    Also, if I remember correctly, crossing this bridge in the original release of Riven required you to change discs, didn’t it? That probably took about 45 second, right? So it’s actually the same amount of time! :p

  • Albert T Colon Says:

    Can you not simply add a myst like device, such as a thin moving platform on rails? If not, simply add a command to allow running across the bridge or any lengthy expanse… it may diverge from the original, but games need to evolve without being constrained by older objectivity… strive onward writers!

  • Daniel C Says:

    I think there should be an option for the player to choose, much like the original in which one had the option to “teleport” to some places.
    The important thing is it should be an option.

  • Sam Says:

    Just make it a shorter distance away or create fast travel for the poor factors needed before that are now factors of a fully 3D game.

    This article is quite a bit dumb. This is an easy design decision to overcome.

  • Dromaeosaurus Says:

    Another possible option would be to add a fast-travel system to allow players to quickly jump between the main islands after you first visit them. You might be able to use linking-books to avoid breaking the game flow with menus (although I’m not sure if linking-books can work like that). It certainly has drawbacks, but it might be something worth thinking about.

  • Paul Says:

    There’s no need for any invention, but rather turn it to your advantage! Create vistas for each part of the bridge so the player can stop and wonder, take printscreens or whatever. A “wow-moment”, something to show to the grandkids…

  • Brad Says:

    What if to make things work nicely, just move the boiler island closer? This will cut down travel time without needing to tweek speeds or illusions or anything.

    Or, just leave it at 45 seconds. If it’s good enough for Ghen when he’s turned the power off, it’s good enough for a player.

  • Mr.Sam Says:

    Honnestly, you are going too far and overkill that question.
    If we have the choice between 3 navigation (same camera placement click by click, Zip mode and free move), there is no problem.
    Actually, I would like to cross the bridge in real time and real distance. If Im bored to do it, ill switch in other displacement mode. Thats it, keep it consistant please, dont go in the “fear of give something uneasy to do”, you are making realRiven, just do it as it is.

    Thats the best and easiest solution, imho.
    Ill strongly hope you will consider this message 😉

    Keep up the good work !!

  • Happy camper Says:

    That’s one bridge too far, chuck it out and replace it with a more convenient method of transportation I say… mag lev anyone 😉

  • Artur Says:

    That moving bridge idea is very clever! But honestly, I don’t like it very much. I wonder, wouldn’t shortening the catwalk interfere with the “feel” of that place, reduce its vastness? I recall that one of the reasons you dropped the day/night cycle was that it would hamper the atmosphere of some discoveries, like the colors during the revelation of the sunners laguna, which in the original game was planned more carefully then the player might consciously notice.
    To resolve the boiler bridge problem, I would try a modified “pressing shift to run”, which could normally (in other places in game) speed the player up about 2 times their normal speed, but seamlessly increase up to 3 times when near the center of this particular bridge. Tor and RiverThomas suggested something like it above.

    One other thing bothers me – speed aside, but then you look at the animated gif above, boiler island looks much closer than in the original – it can be seen especially when descending the stairs and looking at its shore. Is it because it hasn’t been yet camera-matched yet, or because the camera has different perspective setting?
    Nonetheless, I absolutely love your work on Starry Expanse! Good luck!

    • Artur Says:

      Edit: To clarify, by “shortening the catwalk” I meant shortening the part of the bridge that the player crosses, because that is the consequence of the moving bridge. Also, I understand that you rejected the idea of upping the player speed – in the comment above I suggested upping only the running speed, not walking speed, and only gradually on the bridge – perhaps that would not feel as “gamey”?
      Oh, and one more idea – if you are implementing also the original point-and-click movement, are you going to include zip mode there? Maybe it would be feasible to translate the zip mode into free 3d movement?
      By the way, hello to Hollister and congratulations on joining this cool project. 🙂

  • Ben Says:

    Wont you be adding a run feature anyway? I suspect that getting from any given spot to another faraway spot on a different island will take much longer than in the original game if you can only walk (not just on this bridge), and even in the original game, moving around the whole at the end of game could get tedious or time consuming, since you have to do a lot of traversing/exploring vast areas. If anything, adding a run feature will make the game feel more realistic since in reality, people can run. Maybe the run speed on the bridge can be faster than the rest of the game, since I doubt that would be noticeable. The method you have seems to work pretty well though, so maybe use a combination of the two.

  • 75th Trombone Says:

    This is a super neat effect, but add my +1 for a simple Run button like every 3D Cyan game has had. If someone who hasn’t made regular use of the Run button starts walking at normal speed across the bridge, show a prompt reminding them how.

    • Andross Says:

      No! Please no prompts! Nothing ruins the immersion like a bloody text box popping up to tell you to press a button! Have a tutorial in the menu or run through the controls at first start if you have to!

      I don’t mind the moving bridge effect, but I think it needs an ease-in/ease-out, also, why not dial it down to only 2x speed at peak and then add a shift to run as others have suggested. That would seem to be the best of both worlds.

      In order to avoid the moving pillars someone mentioned earlier, have the pillars deform so that the base stays in the same place as you near them, while the top continues to move.

  • Lapbunny Says:

    From the game standpoint, I wouldn’t force the effect on people. 45 seconds is long, sure… But as Greigh, Aaron, and mystman12 already mentioned, I’d honestly take the 45 seconds if it makes me say “fuck this is a long bridge” the first time. Especially if it makes me take in that it’s a *long fuckin’ bridge.*

    That being said, though, it’d definitely piss off anyone backtracking. The run button seems like the most useful idea, but if you really wanted to do the visual effect I’d trip a flag the first time you go over it to activate the effect…

  • jamie marchant Says:

    Nicely done :).

  • Aloys Says:

    I’m all for a having a full fledged zip mode…

    They started this with Myst because it was a gameplay *need*. And now that the movement system is even slower we’re even more in need of taking shortcuts. As much as I usually enjoy taking my time wandering in Riven or Myst, there are just those (many) occasions when I want/hate to run around to complete some puzzle. I simply couldn’t see myself playing Riven without zip mode.

    Riven without Zip mode would be a step backward.

    Aim somewhere, cursor turns to a lighting bolt, click, current view freezes and crossfades to the new location. Why bother with something more complicated?

    I guess the obvious obstacle is whatever background loading system you have that might collide with this. But a small loading stutter would definitely be acceptable, and still much faster than travelling the actual distance on foot.

    I suppose it would be a bit of work setting it up, manually placing ‘zipable’ triggers, rigging the logic behind, etc. But I’m 100% sure it’d be worth it.

    Now, for the specific topic at hand the assisted movement ‘conveyor belt’ system you’re looking at is nifty, clever even, and might just work. But a Zip mode would be really welcome all through the game regardless.

  • Bishop Schulz Says:

    Now that is nice, i like the video showing the movement, feels less gamey and more realistic even at double bridge underneath speed.


  • ted Says:

    This is a super cool idea, but there are so many places in Riven that would benefit from a run mode! I would love to get shift to run.

  • Averagemoe Says:

    Won’t the player notice that the bridge supports are moving along Boiler Island’s terrain?

  • Skiloh Wilkinson Says:

    Sorry to be blunt, but why the hell adjust it at all?! Most enjoy the ambience and realism of the environment. It breaks the mould of the instant gratification, quick fix action stereotype. There was far more running/walking around in Myst Online and I LOVED every moment of the scenery. That view too!

    • Emily Says:

      I wholeheartedly agree. Myst is all about being immersed in the world around you, and the full walk, as you said, is a perfect example of that. However, many players are not a fun of such waits, in such cases a run option would be appreciated. Perhaps a ‘burst sprint’ option could be available, however disabled by default?

  • Magic88889 Says:

    While I’m of the opinion that maybe it should be left alone, I can understand where you’re coming from.
    If you do this, I think you have to balance the acceleration. While I understand the desire to have it not take so long, you still need to feel that distance. Nine clicks is a lot for one bridge, the realtime 3D version should feel the same.

  • Nintendo Maniac 64 Says:

    While I think your solution is brilliant, I also think it’s unnecessary.

    realMyst has a run button, why can’t realRiven?

    And some people like myself have a tendency to take their time walking from place to place in such exploratory games – I don’t like rushing around so much in these types games (especially with Riven’s “scenic vistas”), and I definitely know I’m not the only person that plays this way (see the youtuber “kurtjmac” and both his “far lands or bust” and “eidolon” series).

  • Tom Says:

    I believe a “run” function (by holding down Shift) is your best option. In my opinion, it doesn’t break immersion and feels less “gamey” than the old Zip mode. Plus, there are many other areas, when I played the game, where I would travel lengthy distances with a flurry of clicks. If you focus only on this particular area and don’t put in a “run” function, then the rest of the game is going to feel monotonous. Especially Jungle Island and the trip to get the submarine, even if you know what to do, getting there will take a long time without a run.

    As a long-time fan of the series who has been waiting for a Real Riven since Real Myst, I want to be able to experience as much of the game as possible in real time with as few tricks as possible. Am I the only one looking forward to walking across that bridge in real time?

  • David Clark Says:

    Although this is a really cool idea, I feel like you’re gonna have a lot of issues doing it this way. Depending on where the light is coming from, you’ll probably be able to see from the shadows that the bridge is moving over the water, plus the bridge itself will end up looking shorter than it really is when you’re on it. If you adjust the movement speed (or rather that bridge speed) as you approach then the player might feel the effect of slowing down and speeding up if their eyes are on the island instead of the bridge. I think a run button is probably more effective, or change the bridge is it’s actually an escalator (like in the airports) that changes direction based on what direction you’re moving. A run button would probably make more sense if you don’t already have one.

  • Peter Weersing Says:

    If what we see is 3 times the speed, then it all takes about 33 seconds to cross. And that, in my opinion, is totally accetable. We are playing Riven here. A masterpiece as you all know. And if the bridge is this long by design, and it takes that long to cross then that is what it takes. Please don’t break you’re head on this. As a real fan i couldn’t even care if it took a minute. I would enjoy the journey every frame and every second.
    Pulling tricks while the player crosses the bridge is not necesary and time consuming to develop. So please keep it as original as possible.

  • Catalina Gearbox Says:

    I think that a RUN option is just fine. I don’t think its such a big deal because the player won’t be crossing the bridge that much

  • Brian Fredricks Says:

    I’m not a game designer but I agree with a stamina bar allowing for 3 to 5 seconds of “run.” This seems to make everyone happy. Some players want a little control if they’re in a hurry but the stamina bar prevents people from “always running” through the whole game.

  • Ectcetera Says:

    You may consider adding some events to watch, such as some “sunners” swimming around in the water in a whale-watching sort of way, to offset the monotony. With this solution you’d likely want multiple events considering how many times players will move across the bridge.

  • Anthony Kleine Says:

    I like the shown prototype of the bridge moving under the player. It’s really convincing. I wouldn’t have noticed if it wasn’t pointed out.

    A lot of people here seem to be forgetting that in the original Riven you can click through these nodes as fast as you want – so no, it does not “feel the same” when it takes 45 seconds to cross.

    After crossing it a lot it will just start to become annoying and will come across as a lame way of padding out game time if it is left completely alone – or make players suspicious they are missing something on the bridge considering so much emphasis is put on it. At the same time, the bridge is such a great image and I do not think it should be replaced or made shorter. To me, a visual trick to decrease the amount of time it takes to cross is a good middle-ground solution.

    • Artur Says:

      Well, the visual trick actually makes the bridge shorter – not literally perhaps, but simply you don’t cross so much of the bridge itself while traveling he same distance. This might distort the feeling of the scale of the islands. That’s why I would prefer the run option.

  • dsto Says:

    I think a running option (available anywhere in game) would be best. I don’t think it feels too gamey… Seems like the analog to zip mode. Also would interfere less( than the moving bridge solution) with the player’s sense of scale of the bridge

  • BuddhaMaster Says:

    Immerse the Player with ambient sounds!
    Make the bridge creak, a gust of wind, seagulls or other wild life, even a lonely Butterfly (remember Myst Island?), a bug buzzing by.

    Make the crossing an adventure!
    You are all alone up there, a million miles down to water and rocks.

    Let the player feel the alien world, or give him some comfort by said things.

    Let him know SOMETHING’s gonna happen, but dont make it corny.
    And then, nothing happens.
    Thats the best!
    You just passed a 200 Meter bridge- and nothing happened!

    Maybe a gust of wind (almost mockingly) at the end that reminds you of lonely, giant emptiness.

    Make it dry. Let the player between expectation and nothing.

    Remember passing Seagulls from Myst at the pier? Id stand there watching for five minutes and enjoy the subtle variations (theres about 5). Get those on that Bridge! Easteregg. Or that fat bug sitting on the tree stump. Those Sea Creatures will call you, check the waters! Frightening heights, deeeep way down. But experience a faint shadow passing the waters.

    Feel the bridge!

  • Peter Says:

    For those who know…
    Please realise…
    The (spoiler alert for those who don’t know)….

    Actual purpose of this bridge….
    And how often (do we need) to cross it anyway…
    Stop wasting time on this subject.

    This bridge is riven. If it takes a few minutes to cross, it takes a few minutes to cross. Don’t like it? Then you don’t understand riven.
    It is about exploring and learning. That takes time. And so should crossing this bridge.

  • Mikemc Says:

    Just add running into the game and be done with it. If people want to run around in realtime through Riven, then they should not be surprised that it could take a while.

    Or allow us to swim across. Or cut down trees and Craft a boat.

  • Henry Says:

    ” make it point and click style exactly like riven, and then you can right click to go into exile mode where you can look around 360* degrees. And then you can press w,a,s, or d to go straight into free roam mode, then you can left click to go back into riven mode”
    When you do this, you can be in free mode and left click to zip forward.

  • Claudio Says:

    Hello there, first time posting around these parts.

    Well, while I do agree the idea is very novel and interesting, I don’t think it’s that good due to a number of reasons.

    First and foremost, it adds so many inconviniences in terms of immersion and open space observability that it completely outweights its usefulness. This project, as I have understood it to be, aims to provide a fully explorable Riven, only constrained by the path that is actually walkable, that is to say, we can look around while we walk, and we’re not restricted to a single spline while walking. This would translate into noticing that the bridge is actually moving forward, and so would the shadows, and if, by some reason, physical sound effects are added, the wind sound would be very heavy because of our relative speed to the world, not to the bridge.

    The second problem I see is the incredibly complex construction of such as system, not only in the programmer’s side, but also on the 3D artists and most probably the material artists. The resources that would be required for it to look good are far too many, and let’s not talk about time, debugging and QCing such a thing.

    I believe this could work as a puzzle, but not as a quality of life mechanic. As I said before, the cons far outweight the pros.

    I would propose a beautified teleportation in selected places, such as this bridge, and a feature that can be copied in many different places that have such characteristics (long travel time and repeated passthroughs), by simply having a prefab which allows to set a connection between two of them, with all the visual effects attatched, but modifieable. Also, this QOL mechanic would be required to have a switch to turn it on or off at any given time during gameplay, safe for specific timed events in which it’d be required to be able to move around in a real physical way (though it would still be possible, previous agreement by the devs, to add the walk time of that teleport shortcut into the timed event, eventhough it’d break immersion during the event).

    By the way, by beatified teleportation I mean from things such as the camera looking at the sun and getting flashed by it, to then turn to the road back again and be at the destination, to mini cutscenes of the camera in FP looking around the bridge a few times while “walking” and doing jumps between each camera cut. In the end, it’s just a teleport, but it can be masked to no break immersion so much.
    Also, let’s not forget, once again, it must have an option to switch it on or off at any given time (safe exceptions).

    I hope you find my advice useful!

  • Fellow12 Says:

    I have to be honest, I was not going to read over 50 comments. I kind of skimmed over them so if this has already been presented, I apologize in advance.
    Why walk on the bridge? If the platform you are walking on is invisible, you would not have to worry about shadows, texture or anything else. You can keep the bridge stationary and the invisible floor that you will be walking on will bring you towards the island instead. It would keep the realism and few would notice.
    Alternatively, if you had already crossed the bridge, you could give the player a zip option but then again, if you ran on the bridge, the invisible platform in combination with the running will still get you there in decent time.
    I do like BuddhaMaster’s ambience and trickery. It would get the player to somewhat forget about how long the bridge is. After all, these are islands in the middle of the ocean that are spreading apart from one another. There is a lot going on with the tectonic plates, the wind and the waves crashing into the pillars. Being that sometimes oil rigs get destroyed at sea, there must be the feel of some stress on the bridge. Not too rickety but vibrations that make one feel unsafe.
    Should a person decide to look down towards the floor of the bridge, the platform could just slow down or stop entirely for the sightseeing.

  • mYsTiC Says:

    You may add a tram for transportation or some kind of teleportation devices such as linking books. If you run into this problem a lot, it may be necessary to have some kind of game-wide fast travel mechanism. I’m all for maintaining geographic correctness of the place too, but without frustrating the players. Add some linking books for transportation, so players have the option to walk around or quick travel to a location. The “zip travel” of the original games is doable too. As long as players have the OPTIONS, I don’t see any bad solution here.

  • Jardi Says:

    Just put in Zip mode. they corss it once, they can use the lightning icon to go across it in one click.

  • Guy Beeson Says:

    This is a waste of brain power. Riven has a long bridge, bridges take a while to walk across in real life. Riven was meant to be a surreal experience in a almost believable setting. Do not try to give the player super powers to get to the other side in a fraction of the time. Allow us to run, walk, or zip mode across, that is all you should be thinking about.

  • Johnny Johnnakis Says:

    In my opinion, you should employ a run feature. This can be implemented in two ways:

    1. In a as-needed basis. Anytime a player wants to run – either because he/she has made the same path over and over trying to solve some puzzle or because there is a long distance involved such as in the bridge case – he/she should be able to do so. As in the real world, if you were actually there you would walk the first time but you would prefer to run the next. A simple “Hold Shift to run” would suffice. Not at all “too gamey”, on the contrary – very natural.

    2. As a ZIP function. The equivalent of “jumping” from a place to another in Myst/Riven would be “running” from a place to another in a real 3D environment such as the 3D Riven. So ZIP mode would have the player “auto-run” (as a cut-scene) from a place to another, but wouldn’t let him/her run the whole game, just in predetermined spots such as the bridge.

  • Keith Says:

    I wouldn’t worry about the inconvenience of travel time for the bridge. Stay true to the original design even if it takes 45 seconds. This is one of those games people need not rush to beat. It’s an experience.

  • Anna Says:

    I personally like the moving bridge idea, as long as the supports don’t look like they’re moving from the player’s vantage point. Really, it seems almost more realistic to me: with all of the other mechanistic creations in Riven, surely Gehn would have considered what is essentially an airport conveyor walkway for the incredibly long bridge. Moreover, if the bridge acts as a conveyor, it’d give the player an opportunity to take a brief break if they’re okay with waiting a little longer to get across (if they just stand in place on the walkway without moving forward as well).

    Still, I do like the idea, brought up on this board, of being able to briefly sprint in other sections of the game. That may be something worth considering independently of whatever is decided for the bridge.

  • zb Says:

    just leave it alone. if console gamers can tolerate the 2 minute long ladder climb in metal gear solid 3, then hardcore pc nerds can handle a 45 second bridge walk.

  • Adeon Writer Says:

    I think the normal walking speed should be used, but at certain points in the bridge a soft fade effect should be used that teleports you the same distance forward but same relative position on the bridge, very similar to how it looks in the original Riven. if you backtrack you’d see the fade-teleport in reverse. You’d need some kind of framebuffer or camera render to show both scenes side by side since you’d be in full control of both at all times, but I think you could just have 4 or 5 fade sections where it teleports you forward that way you keep your walking distance the whole way but it’s a much shorter path.

  • Joe Says:

    I’m in the shift to run camp. Perhaps you could add a feature to slowly increase the running speed over time the longer you hold it. That would make crossing the bridge much quicker for those who need to, without making the player run too fast in other areas of the game. Or maybe have shift to run, control to sprint. Shift+Ctrl = ludicrous speed 😉

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