Starry Expanse is an attempted to create a realtime 3D port of Riven: The Sequel to Myst.
The developers (who are also looking for volunteers to help them developing the project) use the Unity game engine and say that GNU/ Linux port is definitely on the table.
The Starry Expanse Project is a collaborative attempt to create a realtime 3D port of Riven: The Sequel to Myst. We carefully study screenshots and videos taken from the Riven game and recreate it to the best of our ability.
Starry Expanse is a long-term project; the original game took dozens of artists years to complete. We are a much smaller team and do not have the same freedom of time as the original creators, and so we must take our time and ensure that every detail is as accurate, realistic, and true to the original game as possible. Eventually, we expect to release a beta program which will let users test various interactive parts of our recreations. Our goal is to recreate the game of Riven in its interactive entirety.
For more information, watch the presentations given at Mysterium 2010 , 2011 and 2012. You can also follow our progress on Twitter, by following @starry_expanse, although the best place to find news and updates is this website.
Recently they had an interesting IamA in which they gave insights about their project :
“We’re currently targeting the main platforms that Unity supports, Windows and OS X. Future versions of Unity will support Linux, so that may be a possibility in the future, as well.”
“Years at this rate. Maybe two, maybe three. Unless we actually decided to work on this full time, at the expense of our real jobs and schoolwork, the work is going to remain slow and steady. Riven is a big, big place to recreate.”
“The atmosphere is absolutely something we want to retain from the original. It’s a reason we love Riven too. Retaining atmosphere is an issue that sometimes even conflicts with the freedom we’re trying to inject, yes. For example, sometimes in the original, the feeling of a certain scene is dependent on the direction the player is looking. We may have to limit the player’s view for scenes like that, to get them to see everything that needs to be seen, but questions like that are still up in the air.
In terms of content, we’re changing very little. We want the puzzles to play the same, we want the player to be just as well guided and we want the story to be told exactly the same way. The changes we want to make are purely aesthetic.”
“We have most of the islands in the game at least a little bit under-way. Prison Island is near completion, and Boiler Island is pretty far along, as well. We’re still nowhere near a concrete date for beta testing, however.
For a number of areas throughout the game, we’re going to have custom actions that are only performable at that location. This includes places like the gate on Temple Island, the submarine on Jungle, the maglevs, and the cart between Jungle and Boiler. These will all require custom camera actions, which wouldn’t really make sense at any other point in the game.
There’s been a lot of discussion on invisible walls. In general, we really don’t like them. At the same time, Riven is a complicated enough game as it is, if we let the player roam truly free, it gets even more confusing. For that reason, we’re probably still going to be constraining the player a lot, and that includes keeping them away from cliff edges and deep water.
While there’s always the possibility of ‘backstabbing’, it’s extremely unlikely as we’ve picked our group pretty carefully. Also, not having to deal with Hollywood, or any overseeing corporation/group (outside Cyan), we have a much more hands-on level of control with the project. I think that this means fewer fights, less drama, and a more cohesive group overall.
We want to have things be as dynamic as possible, so as much as we can, yes, little objects will be at least a little moveable.
Being huge fans ourselves, we would love to have more of Tay explorable. Our main concern with Tay, however, is that The Stranger would not plausibly be able to explore much more of the hive, or surrounding area. Catherine trusts us, but her people do not – there’s a reason that door was locked in the first place.
And no, the Stranger cannot see his or her reflection.”
“Ubisoft actually lost the rights to the games a few years ago. They were held by GameTap and its parent company for a while, but by now all of the rights for the Myst series have returned to Cyan Worlds.”
Early Gameplay Video
It’s still early and it will take a few years, but it looks good even at this early stage and for those who love the classic – it will be a good refreshment and update to our current technology.