Happy 20th!

On this day, twenty years ago, to much anticipation, Riven: The Sequel to Myst was finally released to worldwide critical acclaim. Two decades later, our project to remake this game has become a symbol of how much it means to all of us on the Starry Expanse team. Riven was the high-water mark of the Myst series.

Twenty years of adventure gaming, puzzle solving, and online community discussion… Now, here we are, at the tail end of 2017. So much of the game development and computer graphics industries has changed in the twenty years since 1997, but we are honored that someday we will be able to bring this amazing experience to new players in order to continue its legacy.

To mark the occasion, the team would like to share something that we have been working on recently. We are always looking for new ways to share our work, and although we currently have no plans to publicly share a build of the game, we may have the next best thing:

(View may take a minute or two to load.)

Please note that these panoramic images are a work in progress and do not represent the final position of navigation nodes in realRiven, and neither do they reflect the final quality of the game. They are the result of our experimentation with Unreal’s stereoscopic capture feature, and while they are areas you have likely seen before if you are a regular reader of this blog, we are excited to have been provided a new way to show our environments, which seems fitting for the occasion.


Happy 20th Riven-der-Weende!

25 Responses to “Happy 20th!”.

Team members' usernames are in red.
  • Peter Weersing Says:

    Very nice. Very cool.
    Congrats with these achievements.

    And happy 20th. It seems like yesterday…

  • Myst fan Says:

    The lab looks gorgeous. Awesome work people!

  • Flowerpower Says:

    OMG! I just drooled. This is amazing!

  • Marein Says:

    Looking awesome!

  • Antony Says:

    Awesome sauce!

  • The Green Butterfly Says:

    Awesome! Unfortunately, my iPad can’t handle the awesomeness of both thingies at the same time so the site keeps crashing. Tapping on the thingies fast enough before it crashes again to open them in a new tab works fine. It nicely follows the position of my iPad, I didn’t know the roof of Gehn’s lab was made from glas! Only at the bottom the image is a little distorted.

    Also, is the smiley in lower left corner of the page intentional, or is it a happy coincidence?

  • Stefanos Says:

    The colors are a oversaturated and the end result seems a little bit too “perfect”. It actually needs to be more “dirty” to feel realistic and old, as everything else in Riven.

    But don’t listen to me, you’ve done a GREAT job so far.

  • Aloys Says:

    Nice! This is starting to look good. The lab is especially good. There are a few areas that still say WIP, but it’s really getting there. 🙂 Congrats to the artists!
    Can’t wait till you finally release a playable demo. 😉

    If I had a few constructive criticisms:
    As a general rule: colors are way too saturated. In Riven it’s much more dusty and gray. And lighting is too contrasted.(then again the lighting is one of the hardest part to get right)
    And in 233 the lighting on the desk is too smooth: items look like they are floating above the desk surface. Also the sea reflections are wrong, if your shaders are using the stock SSRs: don’t. For large reflective areas (like a sea), that just doesn’t work. You have to go with Planar Reflections. It has a much higher performance cost, but for this area it might be worth it.

    • Nintendo Maniac 64 Says:

      I think it’d be unwise to be too concerned about performance right since Starry Expanse definitely isn’t close to being done yet and GPU performance is one thing that is still constantly getting considerably better with each new generation of hardware (especially on the mobile side – see Nintendo Switch and Ryzen mobile).

  • Jola Says:

    AMAZING! This looks really really good!

  • Andrew Says:

    I’d recommend anybody who owns a Google Cardboard to check this out, the program they used is compatible. Being able to stand inside 233, even with the limited immersion offered by cardboard headsets, is pretty darn cool. Go check it out!

    (It ironically seems to work better on Safari than Chrome, or at least it did for me.)

    • The Green Butterfly Says:

      Is the image 3D when using such a cardboard thingy and splitting the view? I tried it on my iPad, but the images are too far apart for each eye to focus in the middle of each image by staring into infinty.

  • Flake Says:

    Good work guys. Happy Birthday !

  • Arthur Says:

    Happy Birthday… Nice work !

  • Andross Says:

    The lab is looking pretty much 1-1 from my memory. Great effort. The 233 one is obviously from the build of a couple of years ago, and still has the same problems of my review at the time.

  • jamie marchant Says:

    Well done! Looks as good as the original game.

  • Derek Says:

    These are stunning! Absolutely incredible work. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

  • N W N E E S S W SW W NW NE N SE Says:

    These are absolutely amazing! Thank you for sharing!

    How hard are these to make? If they aren’t too complex or time consuming to create, I’d highly reccomend releasing more on a regular basis. Even basic/plain WIP shots would be awesome to visualize in 3D.

    It’s one thing to see a flat 2D image of your teams progress. It’s entirely another to see a ‘spacial 3D’ image, which is so much more exciting and impactful. Literally, the words “Shut up and take my money!” popped out of my mouth when I saw them on my $1 cardboard viewer.

    Thanks again and congratulations on your continued progress!

  • Mike L Says:

    Can someone help me out? When I click on the 3d mode icon, the screen tells me to put my phone in Google cardboard. I don’t have one, but I don’t need one. I can uncross my eyes to view the 3d effect without glasses. But there’s no button to proceed. Only one for buying the viewer. How would the phone know that it’s in a viewer? I can’t seem to force the phone to display the images.

    For what it’s worth, I have an Essential Phone. It’s about as close to a Google product as you can get, without Google’s name branded on it.

    • Philip Says:

      If you can figure out how to run JavaScript on your phone, this snippet should hide the instructions:

      Array.from(document.getElementsByTagName('div')).filter((x) => x.innerText === 'Place your phone into your Cardboard viewer.')[0].parentNode.style.display = 'none';

      • Mike L Says:

        Thanks! I haven’t done such wizardry yet but I’ll get on it as soon as I have a few minutes to spare. Family will be visiting until Thursday, though. Perfect timing. :-/

  • Tom Says:


    I seem to recall the sea level in the 233rd Age was far, far lower, though, and the ratio of rock to water much higher.

    • Tom Says:

      Actually, no forget that, I just checked with some original screenshots, the level looks OK. I think there was just less contrast or the specularity of the water was different or the sky & water had less contrasting colours, or something like that.

  • Matthew Hanley Says:

    Is there some way to download these 360 degree images so I can look at them while wearing my oculus rift? I kinda want to feel like I’m standing in Ghens lab.

Leave a Reply