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Inside Cyan's 'Myst Vault,' the living history of Myst and Riven

Hayden Dingman | Oct. 7, 2014
I recently drove out to the Spokane, Washington headquarters of Myst creator Cyan Worlds to talk about their upcoming game Obduction. You can read my preview here, and a deep-dive Q&A about the Obduction development process here.

And they did the first one in Wired magazine, two-page spread. "Cool, and they're going to go in more magazines. This'll be sweet!" And uh...the marketing guy at the time, the one hit Wired, everyone loved it, everyone thought it was really cool, and he was like "Nah, we're not doing it," and pulled the plug.

D'ni map
RM: This is the original map of...In the second novel, we wanted a map of what it was like to walk down from...In the first book there was a journey from the Cleft down to this underground empire of D'Ni that was long dead. This cavern down there.

Cyan Worlds Studio Tour

So we thought we should document the map. We got a local artist, and we kind of wanted lots of details. We have so much history with the D'ni. It's just crazy. The D'ni were the ones that did the art of writing these books that can link, but they also don't use rectangular coordinates. Everything is polar coordinates. There's this spot from which they originally came, it's called the Great Zero, and everything is measured from that point. You measure distance and angle, and it's all written in D'ni numbers and everything is real consistent and we had translated all this stuff and acted like it was a real map to the surface. Then we made that for the second book. I love how it turned out. Feels kind of real.

Costumes, Part 2
RM: Let's see...two more. This is the guy at the beginning of Riven when the gate comes and traps you. He's the goofy guy. We named him Cho because that's the first words he says. "Cho?"

Cyan Worlds Studio Tour

And Katherine is over there. That's probably Atrus's boots and I think he carried a satchel with him as well.

The underground
RM: So at the height of Riven, all of this...we were packed into all of this. This was the art department down here. We had a...those guys needed to work in the dark because artists don't like glare, so we put them down here and we decided we needed to make a cool space, so we put work stations, big salt pillars, but since then...I think for years after we shrunk in size this went down to nothing and just held crap because we just kept moving stuff down here.

Cyan Worlds Studio Tour
Notice the star-field up top.

Last year we tried to clean it up. Now we have parties down here, we eat down here, and we also rent it out. It all helps the budget.


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