"They definitely have an old-school design process, so taking their puzzle design and mapping it into the tech is always an interesting challenge because they don't draw things to scale, they don't think about the verticality," says Anderson. "It's really fun--and frustrating some days--but mostly fun."
As Anderson walked around this early, early version of Hunrath, which is in what Cyan terms the "massing model" stage (a.k.a. mostly untextured blocks) there were literally words and arrows on the ground describing what should be in each area. For instance, "House" with an arrow pointing to an area where someone has built the house in question. Those words and arrows all come from that original real-world map.
"That's literally how it was done for Myst and Riven," says Anderson. "People are like, 'That doesn't seem very detailed.' You should see some of the Riven maps."
Hunrath, Mofang, and Villein
"I would call this three or four Myst Islands put together. And we have three of these," says Anderson. I asked him how big Hunrath is, after watching him wander around the space for a few minutes and having it seem enormous.
Miller, for his part, says the game as it currently stands is most likely larger than Riven which is...well, a pretty stunning assertion. We'll see whether the game ends up that size once everything is in full production--the team fully admits the content and scope are in flux still.
"It's big, but I think we can pull it off. We're pretty good at this after the years," says Miller. "It's getting deeper and deeper and it's really satisfying." Recently the team pushed Miller and Watson to create an alien language/numbering system, a la Riven, to give it extra depth. Whether you think that's a good thing or not, well, that probably depends on your affinity towards Riven.
But back to Hunrath. As I said, it's sort of a Mad Max/Old West feel, with all sorts of cobbled-together structures and desert. Of course, at the moment it's mostly untextured yellow structures, but you can get a good idea of the size and scale.
"When you first arrive here there are only so many places you can actually go," says Anderson. "You can't get into the house yet, you can't get into this big structure in the middle yet, all you can see is there's a tree inside this wall, and there's these kiosks around that give you... almost like imager messages. People that lived here left these messages for you.
"There's no one wandering around, there's signs of struggle, there's a graveyard with fresh-dug graves, and you're like 'What the hell happened here?' And it has this sort of Wild West feel yet it's surrounded by this alien landscape."
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