Recently, IMG had the opportunity to talk with Susan Weyer, PR Manager of Presto Studios, about their upcoming title Myst III: Exile. As many of you know, Myst III is the continuation of the first two titles in the popular Myst series from Cyan--Myst and Riven. Myst III introduces an new villain and brings back some old, familiar faces from previous games. Here is what Susan had to say to IMG.
IMG: First of all, what is the anticipated release date of Myst III: Exile?
We will be releasing EXILE in Spring of 2001, most likely in early April.
IMG: How far along is the game at this point?
It’s difficult to put a percentage point to it. We often need to complete most of an Age before any part of it can go final, because you can see so much of the Age at any one time! Only final pieces can be programmed. Most of the Ages are graphic complete, with just a few more pieces left to drop in. We’ve been programming the Ages as pieces go final so many of our animations and puzzles have already been integrated. The video pieces are coming together, our intro movie came out great, and the soundtrack was recorded with The Northwest Sinfonia orchestra in early December. Talk about powerful! This recording session brought tears to most of our eyes. We hope it will have the same effect on players.
IMG: We have all seen some of the stunning images to come out of Myst III: Exile. What can you tell us about how the Sprint Engine renders these scenes? Are they all pre-rendered, rendered in real-time or a combination thereof?
Our engine uses the best of both pre-rendered and real-time technologies. Worlds in the game are pre-rendered to ensure the highest quality graphics possible. But to immerse the players more deeply into the worlds, we’re using real-time 3d technology to display the graphics. Thus, players look around a node in 360-degree - even when animations and movies are playing, as we can play these in the nodes without having to keep the camera locked down. For example, you can follow a bird flying around in the sky and turn to look at someone who has just entered the scene, all in one node! You can choose to watch and listen to this person or turn back to look at the bird, still flying in the sky. The Sprint engine also allows us to add real-time effects like realistic water movement and glare from the sun. Our engine will add a tremendous amount of realism and navigational freedom for the player.
IMG: Please elaborate on the 360° environment. How much of this beautiful landscape will the player be able to explore?
From any point in the game you will be able to look all around you. So basically, you see it all. The neat thing about this is that puzzle elements could be at your feet or hundreds of feet above your head. This allowed our designers a ton of freedom to create memorable experiences for players.