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Thursday, March 1, 2001

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Myst III Developer Diary
11:28 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

As the release date for Presto Studios' upcoming title Myst III: Exile draws near (May 7th, to be precise) the team is still crunching away on the game according to the latest developer diary published at GameSpot. Daniel Achterman has written up a short piece that describes the status of their work, as well as giving some insight into how this game will separate itself from the previous two MYST titles created by Cyan.

Much has changed since the day MYST was created; no longer are developers limited to 8-bit images and Hypercard scripting when creating virtual worlds. Presto Studios has been making adventure games almost as long, and their latest titles (The Journeyman Project III) have been technological marvels; they are bringing this considerable experience to the Myth III project with the goal of reducing that "on rails" feeling that causes gamers who demand a more interactive world to despise games such as Riven. While they still won't be able to provide a "shooter-style" level of freedom and retain the amazing graphic detail the MYST series is known for -- yet -- the team has devised powerful scripting systems to give the game a much more interactive look and feel. Here is an excerpt describing the scripting system:

As you can guess, we have our work cut out for us. Of course, scripting is a significant component of any major game, but creating a prerendered game of this level of detail presents particular challenges. Consider, for example, a single location in the game--say, a room somewhere. Maybe the lights in this room can be on or off. Graphics have to be created for both states, and the engine must be programmed to load the correct state based on what the user has done. Suppose that there is a screen door that can be open or closed. With the light, that makes four room states. Suppose there is an object behind that door that can be present or missing. Accommodating all these variables makes 2x2x2, or 8 states for a single location! Since there can even be multiple locations inside that room, you can see how the work piles up...

Of course, many users won't even notice the attention to detail that goes into scripting the game. When they watch a creature moving through the world and then step forward and see the creature in the same position from their new location, they don't see the detailed frame tracking, state updates, and animation searching, all of which go on behind the scenes. All they see is a creature moving in a seamless, consistent world.

Although we find it a little alarming that they are still creating game content with a little more than a month before the game will be on shelves -- talk about down to the wire! -- we're sure the combination of Presto and Cyan will create a memorable adventure title with "crossover" potential. Although this is a 2D game like the previous titles, the engine will take advantage of 3D hardware for effects such as lens flares, movie scaling and other effects. For more information on this title, read through our preview. A simultaneous Mac/PC release is expected, with a DVD-based collector's edition due several months afterwards.

Presto Studios
Myst III: Exile Preview
Myst III Developer Diary #4 at GameSpot
Presto Studios
Myst III: Exile
Buy Myst III: Exile

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• Myst III Developer Diary11:28 AM
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View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, March 1, 2001 on one page

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