Saturday, October 27, 2012

Real Myst

Real Myst, or realMYST, or realMyst depending on where on the internet you read the name, is a modern re-make of the classic exploration puzzle game, Myst.

The game is available for $5.99 on both and Steam.

The original Myst used a combination of pre-rendered 2D graphics and full-motion video to achieve its visuals.  When it came out, computers weren't capable of rendering the kind of visuals the game needed in real-time.  But now, computers are more than capable of rendering anything Myst has to offer in real time and in 3D, so...  now we have Real Myst.

Not only is it 3D, but it's a near-perfect recreation of the original with the added ability to freely walk around and move the camera anywhere you want, and of course it can be run at modern resolutions.

Would you like more screenshots?  Well, here.  Have more screenshots.

Real Myst also has a day/night cycle!
Channelwood Age
Stoneship Age
Mechanical Age
Selenetic Age
Rime Age
A while back, I mentioned that Real Myst was "so buggy I wonder how it made it past testing".  This is because without doing some stuff, the game won't run for very long without crashing, has massive framerate issues, and won't play the videos in the linking books.

What is that stuff, you ask?

Well, on Windows XP SP3, I had to install the Ligos Indeo Video 5 codec.  Without the codec, Windows itself actually popped up an error dialog saying "oh hey, you need this installed to run what you're trying to run!".

If you're on Windows 7, people say that in addition to the video codec, setting Windows XP SP3 compatibility mode works for them.

Once you have it going, you may be interested in getting more intuitive controls.  In the setup program, you'll want to go to the Expert Settings tab.  Check Advanced Mappings (this will give you WASD movement controls), then drag the slider for Dead Zone all the way down to Off.  I've also moved my Speed slider all the way to Fast, and the Cursor Sleep Time to 10 seconds.

But enough talk about setting it up.  I did mention that Real Myst was only "near-perfect".  Unfortunately, it's not a perfect re-make, as there are spots where the game will take over and move you by itself, for instance, climbing a ladder, or walking into an elevator.  I guess the developers didn't think that gamers could climb a ladder or turn around in an elevator all by themselves.  However, the gameplay is still largely the same.  Run around flipping switches, finding clues, and solving puzzles.

Once you beat the game (get to D'ni, Atrus gives you the ability to free roam), an extra age exclusive to Real Myst is opened up, called Rime.  You can actually find the book with some back story on Rime on the bookshelf before beating the game, but afterwards, it has a new home on the floor of the library next to the exit, so you really can't miss it.  After beating the game, Atrus makes a couple annotations to the book to give you clues on how to get to Rime.  Note that you don't have to beat the game to get to Rime if you know what needs to be done to access its linking book.

There isn't much to Rime, but it's neat regardless.  There's a tower with a control panel that can cause differently colored aurorae in the sky, and a machine that if you play around with it can give you views of different ages.  There's a note with a specific combination that lets you view Riven, the age you explore in Myst's sequel.

There's also an easter egg in Real Myst.  Go to the star viewer on Myst Island, that you use to find the constellations to get to the Stoneship Age.  Enter March 1st, 1978 12:00 AM and press the button.  Now change the month to November and press the button again.  Congratulations!  You can now use the time-of-day slider to play Pong.

Overall, if you don't mind having to make a couple tweaks to get it to run and be playable, it's worth 6 bucks.  Now all we need is a "Real Riven".

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