Website: The Guild of Archivists
Only really being familiar with Steve Dengler from his involvement in Desert Bus, it’s always weird when he pops up in the middle of a story, but his involvement never fails to make me happy. He’s always struck me as a genuinely good guy who has the good fortune to be able to throw large amounts of money at the things he loves without being a jerk about it.
Reading about 505, it also makes me happy that there are people in the industry who recognize how truly awful developer/publisher relationships typically are, and are trying to actually act like human beings. I hope that catches on elsewhere.
I know I should stay more cautiously optimistic about it, but I am trying very hard not to fangasm over the Homeworld re-releases at this point. I just hope they get a Mac release.
I’m kid of amazed that you’re even sort of surprised.
It’s a little bit like the Myst community’s own Black Mesa Source project. I know the guy who’s running the project though, and Riven is Serious Business™ to him. It’ll take a long time, but I have no doubt it’ll be finished.
I’d attribute the engine changes to the project “growing up”, more than anything else. What started as a couple of guys saying “hey, let’s build a Riven mod for Uru” has evolved into a few more guys trying to faithfully remaster a game that still looks pretty amazing 17 years after its release, and running into all kinds of engine shortcomings along the way. Having played the Unity-based demo of Prison Island, they’re not cutting corners on this at all, and Riven is a demanding chunk of terrain for a realtime 3D engine.
Cyan likes to use Myst as a test bed for new technologies. It’s a known entity to them, so they have a point of reference for how everything should work. There’s sufficient content in it to put an engine through the necessary paces, but it’s also small enough that porting it doesn’t take several years. The original realtime 3D release of realMYST in 2000 was used to test their in-house Plasma engine, which they went on to use for Uru. This time around they were working with Unity, and their experiences with it pushed them to research Unreal 4 for their next game, Obduction.
That aside, though, Cyan is also aware that older versions of Myst have serious compatibility problems on newer platforms. Before realMYST Masterpiece was released, there was no version of the game that ran on OS X, and it’s getting increasingly problematic to play it on Windows due to its fundamental reliance on one of the first public releases of Quicktime. Cyan wants people on new platforms to be able to play the game, and they have a habit of upping the bar on the graphics each time to keep it up to speed with the rest of the industry.
I’m glad we have you and wjousts around as arbiters of what makes a good game, though. Otherwise companies might think it’s worthwhile to maintain an award-winning, best-selling game that’s featured in the Museum of Modern Art.