From the D'ni Universe
This part of my site is written from the perspective of the real world, rather than that of the D'ni universe. It is a species of FAQ, a historical reference for the Cyan Worlds fan community. Though it isn't comprehensive, I hope it will be useful.
- How is Cyan pronounced?
- Sigh-Ann rhymes with Diane.
- Why is the company named Cyan?
- This is Richard Watson's answer:
- "I get many people writing in expecting a deep answer to this question, and I'm sorry to let you down, but there isn't one."
- "Of course, I like the "color of the sky, endless opportunities, sky's the limit" kind of theories, so I've kinda adopted that as the reason, but in reality "Cyan, Inc." just sounded cool and wasn't already taken."
- How many Miller brothers are there?
- There are four. Listed from eldest to youngest they are, Rand, Rod, Robyn and Ryan.
- Who is Richard Watson?
- Richard A. Watson, also known as RAWA, has been with Cyan for many years. He has worked as a programmer on Myst and Riven, and is a noted D'ni historian. He is the source of much of our knowledge of the D'ni civilization. He was dubbed Dr. Watson in the booklet that accompanies the Riven soundtrack and the nickname stuck.
- Where can I find out more about Cyan Worlds?
- You can explore Cyan World's web site for more information about the company, and visit the D'ni Guild areas which they have dedicated to the fans.
- What is The Cyan Cam?
- The old Cyan Cam was a web cam which people at Cyan set up in different places around the Cyan building and grounds so fans could catch a glimpse of what was happening prior to Riven's release. It never showed anything revealing of the game, but was interesting and fun.
- Years later, in response to fan interest (ok... begging), Cyan created The New Cyan Cam, which was a web page containing still shots and tidbits of information. The web cam wasn't feasible anymore, because it used up way too much bandwidth and resources.
- Here is the address of The New Cyan Cam. Those this gift from Cyan has been replaced with other things and is no longer active, you can still see the old pictures.
- Who is Spyder?
- Spyder is a fictitious character created by Cyan to entertain the fans and leak dribbles of information, such as clues to Riven Easter Eggs. Spyder excels at creating ingenious puzzles.
- You can find Spyder's Web here.
- Little Known Rand Miller Trivia
- RAWA wrote:"Little known Rand trivia:
Before writing games, Rand was a programmer at a bank in Texas. He wrote a little Hypercard stack that gave the time and temperature when you called the bank. Until recently, you could still call the bank and hear Rand's voice tell you the time and temperature. We used that same time routine in the Manhole.
- For what it's worth, Osmo and Spelunx have working clocks too..." (RAWA)
- When was Riven released?
- Riven was released on hybrid Mac/PC CD-ROM disks on October 31, 1997. It is now also available on a hybrid DVD-ROM disk.
- Why are there so many different names for the Riven Islands?
- When they first play Riven, most fans make up their own names for the islands and they often use those names when talking to other fans. The two official hint guides each use different names for the islands, and Cyan had their own names which they used during the development of Riven, so there are a lot of names in circulation. Here is the list of island names used by Cyan. Island Names
- Who was the person in the white robe I came across half-way through the game?
- That was one of Gehn's scribes, played by Tony Fryman, Cyan's President.
- What was the texture used for the cover of Gehn's bed?
- In the book From Myst to Riven Richard Kadrey wrote (on page 63) that Richard Vander Wende had scanned his own palm and used that as the basis for the leather texture of Gehn's bed cover. Tony Davidson, on his web site, wrote that he had modeled the bed and had used a scan of his friend's coat to make the texture. Confused Riven Lysters appealed to RAWA, who checked it out. Here is RAWA's reply.
- Who is Tony Davidson?
- Mr. Davidson is one of the artists who made Riven. His web site is full of wonderful examples of his work including many images from Riven. Tony's web site
- Why is the number 5 special in Riven?
- Riven was the 5th Age that Gehn wrote, and during his long imprisonment there Gehn had become obsessed with the number 5, but the number wasn't otherwise special to the Age of Riven, nor was the D'ni culture obsessed with it as these emails from Mark DeForest and Richard Watson to the Riven Lyst explain.
- In the Riven Credits thanks are given to the Rhode Island Historical Society. What did they do for CYAN?
- Richard Watson wrote: They allowed us (well, Robyn) into some historical buildings to take pictures for textures. (RAWA)
- What is the tiny writing on the medallions on the covers of the Riven Linking Books?
- Richard Watson wrote:"Alas, the writing on the medallion was much too small for me to read in
the actual game, so I went downstairs to the pester Josh about letting me
see the original model...
- The tiny D'ni word is "ilais" meaning to "charge" or "power up". Maybe
Gehn put this on these Books to distinguish them from Linking Book which
didn't require a power source." (RAWA)
- Whose is the face in the opening sequence as you are linking to Riven?
- Here is what Rand Miller wrote about this: "Thought I'd finally address the face during the opening sequence. Notice the smaller than normal pupils (barely noticeable) indicating D'ni blood... It's Gehn, almost as if he's watching you from the start, hmmmmmm... (Added by Richard Vander Wende when he put together that sequence.)"
- Another interesting Riven fact from Rand Miller
- Rand wrote: "This is probably common knowlege but, the Rivenese mushrooms have a fruit that grows off of them. You can see some picked fruit in the school room. It has a five sided star shape when cut, which further added to Gehn's preoccupation with the number five."
- Editor's note: You can also see the fruit in the temple by the statues of wahrks on Temple Island, and in the forest on Jungle Island attached to the huge mushrooms that grow there.
- Who is Cho?
- Cho is the name given by Cyan to the first man you see on Riven, because the first word he says is "cho."
- What does Cho say to you?
- For information about what Cho says and what it means please read what Cyan's D'ni historian, Richard Watson, wrote to the Riven Lyst. Richard's Letter
- Why did Catherine link to Riven in the first place?
- Richard Watson wrote: "Sirrus and Achenar told her that Atrus had used the green book and had asked for her to follow him. Once there, not finding Atrus, she continued on to Riven." (RAWA - see also FMTR 34)
- In the 1997 MYST calendar, a picture of a Jungle Walkway was featured for the month of December. Where in Riven was that location?
- Richard Watson wrote: That picture was taken before Gehn had built the maglevs, and there were still wooden bridges between the islands. The wooden pathway is no longer there, but you can still see that grove of trees briefly during the mag car ride from the Jungle Island to the Garden Island.
- Why was the book press was left out of the finished version of Riven?
- You can still see a few traces of the book press on the Riven CDs and DVD. There are some animations, and you can see the top of the press from one screenshot while standing near the boiler on Bookmaking (a.k.a. Crater) Island. So people asked why it had been taken out of the final version of the game. Here is what Richard Watson told the Lyst on April 30, 1999.
- Short version: Because Robyn told Jason to take it out of all the shots.
- Long version: During testing, very few people identified it as a paper press. Most assumed that it was something to open/unlock a passage somewhere.
- When was Myst released?
- Myst was first released for the Mac on September 24, 1993. The Windows 3.1 version came out the following spring, in March of 1994.
- After Windows 95 became popular, the Windows 3.1 version was updated to work a little better with Windows 95.
- Myst Masterpiece Edition was released on August 24, 1999. This version of the game was upgraded by the publisher to work a little better with Windows 98, and has slightly better sound and graphics. Myst Masterpiece for the Mac was released about June 22, 2000.
- realMyst for the PC platform was released about November 20, 2000, and the Mac version on about March 30, 2002.
- What is realMyst? What is Myst Dimensions? What is Myst3D?
- Cyan has made a realtime 3D version of Myst which was released for the PC in November 2000, and for the Mac in March 2002. This version of the game includes one brand new Age, and has stunning weather patterns, cycles of day and night, and other delightful surprises. Players are able to see areas of the game that they were never able to explore before.
- Richard Watson wrote: If you already have Myst, are happy with it the way it is, and the changes (in this case, being able to explore the Ages in realtime, with changing
time of day, weather, etc.) don't make you drool - don't get it. You won't hurt our feelings a bit. We won't even cancel your membership to the Cyan Fan Club. Really. :)
- If you already have Myst, like it the way it is, but you've waited all this time to walk behind the planetarium, or were disappointed you never got to watch the sun set from the steps of the library, etc. then this is for you. Go get it the day it comes out. You'll love it. Honest.
- Can someone explain what is meant by realtime?
- Richard Watson wrote: It means what you see while you're playing the game is rendered on-the-fly,on your machine, as you're playing (creating several frames per second).
This is compared to the original Myst/Riven that were prerendered here on Cyan's computers at several hours, sometimes days per frame, saved onto the CD, and just displayed by your computer while you're playing.
- The difference in speed allows you to move around fairly smoothly, and look/walk just about anywhere you want. Compared to Myst/Riven stills that move several steps per click or turned 90 degrees... all the camera positions decided by us before hand.
- What is the Myst board game?
- On Thursday, September 03, 1998 Richard Watson wrote this to the Riven Lyst about the Myst board game.
- In it's simplest form, it's competitive puzzle building. Each player has the complete puzzle for the map in the Myst library - in
a different color. The game board also has the map, to help you make the puzzle. The first part of the game is trying to put the puzzle together. Each
player chooses the piece they want to start with, then each builds off of his/her piece, trying to put as much of the puzzle together as quickly as
possible. After the puzzle is complete there is another phase where you can take over areas controlled by other players, and you get points based on which
of Myst's structures you control when phase 2 is over.
- One thing we liked about it is that it's really easy to use the puzzle
pieces to make up as many variations on the game as you want.
- Hope that helps, RAWA
- What is Myst III: Exile?
- Myst III: Exile is a sequel in the Myst line which was developed by Presto Studios and published by UbiSoft. It was released on May 7, 2001 in a hybrid format for PC and Mac. You can find more information about this game at these web sites.
- The Official Myst III: Exile web site
- Presto Studios, the game developers
- Jim Stephenson's Riven Unofficial Home Page Exile web site
- I thought I heard sound effects from Myst in a movie.
- Richard Watson wrote: Actually, many of the Myst sounds and some of the Riven sounds were from professional sound effect databases available to anyone with a few grand. Whenever I hear one in a movie or a commercial (the sound we used for the elevator doors in channelwood seem very popular at the moment), it just makes me laugh, hearing the sound out of it's "real" context.
- Who is older, Sirrus or Achenar?
- Richard Watson wrote: "From our best interpretations of the D'ni historical accounts, it appears that Achenar was about two years older than Sirrus. As far as I know, this has not been mentioned previously."
- Isn't that a skeleton I see through the telescope in Mechanical Age?
- Here is what Richard Watson wrote to the Lyst on April 13, 1998 "The skeleton (nicknamed "Bob") was a member of the crew of the Black Ships. The exact reason for his being tied to the raft and left to wander the seas has long been forgotten."
- What are the cool toys in Sirrus' rooms for?
- Here is Richard Watson's (RAWA) answer to the Lyst:
"Unofficial Answer: Robyn (that's Robyn Miller) just wanted to make cool looking things to play with.
- "RAWA's Official Answer: On long days, when the stress of oppressing
inhabitants got to be "too much", Sirrus liked to relax by staring at the
glowing crystals. Um, or something like that..."
- Whose portraits are in Sirrus' chamber on Mechanical Age?
- Myst-Riven-D'ni fan Peter Hargreaves solved this mystery. Read about the man's portrait here and about the woman's portrait here. Another fan, Myro, made the independent discovery of all four original pictures. Visit her site here and click on the pictures to see the orignals.
- What is Myst Online?
- Myst Online was one of the working titles for Uru: Ages Beyond Myst, developed by Cyan Worlds. It was also known by the names MudPie and Parable.
- What is Uru: Ages Beyond Myst?
- Uru is the lastest game developed by Cyan Worlds, the makers of Myst and Riven. The game consists of a stand-alone game on a disk, referred to as Uru Prime, and an online portion called Uru Live. Uru Prime was released in North America on November 14, 2003. Uru Live is being tested now.
- Uru is published by UbiSoft. For more information visit the Uru: Ages Beyond Myst website.
- What about the Myst movie?
- A press release on April 2, 2002 stated that Cyan Worlds and the SCIFI Channel would create a four hour Myst mini-series. No further information is confirmed at this time.
Riven Lyst Minutiae
- When was the Riven Lyst started?
- The official opening day of the Lyst was July 8, 1997.
- When and why did the Riven Lyst close?
- The Riven Lysts were taken off-line on April 2, 2001 following a mail-bombing incident, because the owners didn't have the resources to make the Lysts more secure.
- Who were the Lyst owners?
- Doug McBride originally started the Lyst. After a while he teamed up with the creator of The Riven Guild, Gordon Currie. They shared the management of the Lyst and the Riven Guild web site.
- Who is Doug McBride?
- Doug McBride is an artist who has worked in the field of computer art for many years. When he started the Lyst, he was working for Viewpoint Data Labs. He went to work for Cyan in March of 1999.
- Who is Gordon Currie?
- Gordon Currie owns web design company Eldoren Consulting. He was the owner and webmaster of the Riven Guild. Eldoren Consulting designed the official Myst III: Exile web site and the official realMyst web site, which are now maintained by UbiSoft. Currently Gordon works for DreamCatcher Games, and pursues many other interests.
- When did the Riven Guild open?
- The Riven Guild officially opened on September 7, 1997.
- What does RAWA mean?
- RAWA is the screen name of Richard A. Watson, Cyan programmer and foremost D'ni historian.
- What was all this about Penguins on the Riven Lyst?
- Early in 1998 RAWA, writing in reply to a fellow Lyster, wrote the first funny lines about Penguins, and the thing just grew from there. Here are a few exerpts from the first penguin posts.
- Well, I do have one more childhood dream. You know, the one about moving to Antarctica and living as a penguin for a year. I'd learn to speak Penguinese, getting enough fish to feed my whole flock [hey, anyone know the official term for a group of penguins?], they'd be so grateful that they'd elect me Emperor, and we'd go to war with the group of evil penguins living on that iceberg just to the north, and we'd win 'cause I'd teach my army how to make those really hard snowballs, but then there'd be the assassination attempt, and I'd have to flee for my life, and waiting for all the snow to melt, which, of course, it wouldn't, and I'd never be heard from again. Never mind. (RAWA)
- "RAWA-TRIVIA: I also have a fear of rabid penguins wearing striped pajamas. (They keep eating all of the ice cream!)" (RAWA)
- When someone observed that birds couldn't get rabies, RAWA said "That's just what they want you to think. It's part of what makes them so frightening.
- "Birds can't get rabies" is standard rabid penguin propaganda!!!" (RAWA)
- "Even when I do become the penguin king, _rabid_ penguins are frightening, aren't they?" (RAWA)
- "PS - My therapist assures me that an obsession with penguins is a healthy reaction to the stresses of studying a nearly extinct civilization, spending time underground, and attending "COBOL for Cool Cats" classes." (RAWA)
- What are the donation jars people talked about?
- During the joking around in early 1998 about the rabid penguins and RAWA's mental condition, Lysters started a virtual fund for RAWA's psychiatric care. Many months later that same year, a few Lysters invented and popularized virtual donation jars. Soon Lysters were joking about putting virtual money and other things, including other Lysters, into jars labeled "Save the Wahrks," "Save the Sunners," "RAWA's Therapy Fund" and so on. It's all pretend, of course. There aren't really any jars, and Richard Watson isn't really in need of therapy. At least that's what he claims. (very big grin)
- Who is Cho?
- Cho is the name given by Cyan to the first man you see on Riven, because the first word he says is "cho."
Myst Novels Minutiae
- How many books are there?
- Currently there are three novels, Myst: The Book of Atrus (BoA), Myst: The Book of Ti'ana (BoT), and Myst: The Book of D'ni (BoD), published in that order. There is also a coffee table sized book called From Myst to Riven: The Creations and Inspirations."
- For the IBSN numbers, see the Resources for Further Research page.
- Why does my copy of From Myst to Riven have a different picture on it than the one shown online?
- There are five different pictures on the covers of the book. They are Gehn's Office, the Moiety Hive, Temple path, Garden (also known as Spike or Survey) Island, and the bridge to the Gold Superdome. The books are all the same except for the picture on the cover.
- Where can I buy the books?
- They are getting a little hard to find, but may be available through Amazon.com, your local book shop, or places like eBay.
- Which novel should I read first?
- You can read the novels either in the order in which they were published, or in the chronological order of the story. The publishing order is Atrus, Ti'ana, D'ni. The chronological order is Ti'ana, Atrus, D'ni. Which order you choose is up to your personal preference. I prefer the order of publishing, because of the way some of the story and background information is revealed when you read it that way.
- Will there be any more books?
- News from Cyan is that there are two more novels in development, but they are currently on the back burner, and there is no release date, yet. Richard Watson has confirmed in email to the Riven Lyst that one of the new novels will be called Myst: The Book of Marrim. You will likely remember Marrim as one of the lead characters in The Book of D'ni. Hints on the GRID series indicate that the other new novel may be about the brothers, Atrus' sons, Sirrus and Achenar, but we have no official information about the second novel at this time.
- After he threw himself into the fissure and returned to Myst, what Books did Atrus have with him or on the island?
- Richard Watson wrote: "The exact number of Books isn't recorded, but we know he and Catherine brought a number of Blank Books with them (which Catherine had stolen from Gehn's library) - pg 260 BoA."
- At the end of The Book of D'ni it says that Atrus's daughter, Yeesha, is cousin to Marrim's daughter, Anna. How are the children related?
- Richard Watson told the Riven Lyst that the word "cousin" wasn't meant to be taken literally.
- What is Mysterium?
- Mysterium is an annual conference of fans of Cyan World's Myst universe. For more information please visit The Complete Guide to Mysterium web site.
- For more information about Mysterium 2004 please visit Mysterium Net.
- What is Riviablo?
- In the summer of 1997, when Myst fans were eagerly awaiting the release of Riven, and Blizzard game fans were awaiting the release of a game called Diablo, Bill Amend, who draws the comic strip Foxtrot, did a series of strips about the much anticipated release of a game called Riviablo. The comics were very funny and very timely. When Doug McBride and Gordon Currie visited Cyan in May of 1998, they told us that Cyan has on display a framed copy of the series signed by the author.
- Why do fans talk as if the D'ni were real?
- No one really believes that the D'ni exist, but the people at Cyan often talk as if they were real, so fans often talk that way, too. Pretending is just part of the fun of playing.
- Where can I get the fonts used in Myst and Riven?
- The fonts used for Myst and Riven were made by Cyan and are not available, but there are many handwriting fonts available either commercially or for free on the web that might be similar.
- You can get some great looking fan created Myst-like fonts from the Ages of Myst web site.
- Where can I get the font used in The Riven Journals?
- The creators of The Riven Journals used a professionally made commercial font called Aquiline, which was for sale by T26 Type Foundry for $25. I recently did a search for it and didn't find it, but they may still have it, if you call them. A fan created lookalike font called Flamboyant is available at Ages of Myst web site.
- What are The Riven Journals?
- The Riven Journals were made on behalf of Riven publisher Red Orb by web design company Organic in 1997, prior to the release of Riven. They were a series of beautiful and ingenious puzzles that revealed a little something about the world of Riven. Not all the information they contained should be taken literally, however. According to Richard Watson the story of Klvino, for instance, is apocryphal. Early in 2000 the Riven Journals were taken down, and can no longer be found on the web.
- To get a glimpse of what the Journals were like. Visit Guildmaster Telanis' Riven Journals Solutions page.
- What does "Shorah" mean?
- Shorah means "peace" in the D'ni language and is a common greeting among Myst-Riven-D'ni fans. Here are some translations of words and phrases you may see used on the Riven Lyst or in the chat rooms. Translation courtesy of Josef Riedl at The Guild of Linguist's Homepage.
- Shorah = Peace
Shorah b'shehm = Peace to you (sing.)
Shorah b'shehmtee = Peace to you (pl.)
Shorah tehs = Peace, group (not sure if you can say this in D'ni)
Shorahteh = (not 'official', but Keta says something like that on the
- What are Easter Eggs?
- Easter Eggs are little unexpected items hidden in software by the developers. In Riven some of the Eggs include nearly transparent pictures of the children of Riven's creators, as well as other more well hidden surprises. If you're interested in seeing some of Riven's Easter Eggs, check out Spyder's Web, or visit Zardoz's realMyst Easter Egg Hunt & Other Goodies site for more eggs.
- What is the D'ni Restoration Council?
- According to the DRC site FAQ, "It is an independent, informal group of individuals whose main purpose is to oversee the exploration and restoration of D'ni."
- Please visit the DRC site for more information.
Myst, Riven, and all things D'ni are the creation of Cyan Worlds, Inc.
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The D'ni Desk Reference