Gouraud Shading In The Myst: Myst Remake Gets Remade

By Alec Meer on February 7th, 2014 at 8:00 pm.

Do games still use gouraud shading? Probably not, but it’s the only relevant word I could think of that sounded even slightly like ‘gorillas’. Myst is ancient source of division amongst PC gamers, and also one that’s never quite managed to go away. Remade in 2000 as both Myst: Masterpiece Edition and realMyst, with any number of ports and sequels and spin-offs since then, it’s now back again again as realMyst: Masterpiece Edition.

There’s still no sign of a Pyst remake, however.

While the original realMyst was somewhat disowned by original Myst’s co-designer Robyn Miller, I’m too bloody confused by now to have even the faintest idea of whether fandom will consider realMyst: Masterpiece Edition to be good or evil. I believe one complaint focused on the fact that realMyst offered full freedom of movement, as opposed to Myst’s click’n'travel system, but this new version offers the choice of either.

I can tell you that I’ve had a quick look at it though, and it wouldn’t be accurate to say it’s particularly modern or sexy-looking, though it certainly wears its 21-year age well. The free-roaming and the 3Diness are courtesy of Unity, but if you object to all that and prefer to play in Classic mode, you can also summon up the original graphics with a keypress, like in those Monkey Island remakes a while back.

There’s also minor additions such as auto-save, a flashlight and a hint guide thingy, to make it a less arduous experience for the unaccustomed or the impatient.

Recalling infuriated experiences with it as a child, I am quite sure that Myst isn’t for me in any form, I fear. Just thought I should tell you this here remake of a remake has quietly slipped out, though. If you already own realMyst on Steam, this one is 33% off.

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59 Comments »

  1. Radiant says:

    Total mystery.

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      • TheVGamer says:

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  2. Llewyn says:

    Recalling infuriated experiences with it as a child

    Nice try, Meer. Nice try.

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  3. GamesInquirer says:

    This doesn’t look like an improvement. It has mostly the same old graphics and the same performance issues (as weird as that is, if it’s really on a new engine) on modern systems that are capable of more (yet fall to their knees just by turning the view to the left of the initial spawn). The new effects outside the water’s pixel shaders are messy and unappealing. The (new?) interface visuals and menus make it seem like a student’s iOS effort. Having the option to play it point & click instead of free roaming is a novel addition but it also defeats the point of getting RealMyst over another version. Oh well.

    • Jalan says:

      Some of the bloom effects are just nauseating beyond all measure.

      Also, that point + click option didn’t really work well in Myst V (it had the weird drawback of making it seem like the player was wearing a pair of stupendously quiet rocket shoes that he used to glide across the terrain with).

      • Convolvulus says:

        Stupendously quiet rocket shoes are never a drawback.

        • Jalan says:

          In reality, maybe. In any other game, possibly. But in Myst V as a means to reference the classic interface interaction of the first Myst? It was just wrong and not at all like what they wanted it to be like, unfortunately.

  4. Deano2099 says:

    I wish they’d stop remaking Myst and remake Riven for once. That was a fantastic puzzle (yes, singular, the entire game you’re solving one puzzle, with loads of sub-puzzles that contribute to your ultimate understanding of what the hell Riven (the island) is and how it works) hamstrung by a truly awful engine that made it far too difficult.

    Remake it today with free movement and a map and it’d be brilliant.

    Far, far better than Myst and its series of unconnected puzzles.

    • AndiK says:

      This x 100. :)

      At least the newer versions (DVD & GOG) lack the constant changing of CDs that made the original even more annoying to play.

      Imagine all the spectacular vehicle travels from island to island (or the one in the submarailway) in today’s visuals! Or with a Rift! ooOOOOOoooohhh~~~~

      • Geebs says:

        Absolutely agree. I loved Riven even if I can’t remember what the one puzzle was, and also never quite forgave it for not letting me explore the weird Roger-Dean-Looking-Salt-Shaker building on the front cover

        • Jalan says:

          You do get to visit the Age of Tay briefly though, you just don’t get to/need to go into the Moiety refuge that the tree holds up. It’s a small consolation I guess.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        @ AndiK: Would you like some time … alone?

    • halitosismoses says:

      I hope this makes your day:

      http://www.realriven.com

      I agree that Riven is vastly superior and makes Myst look like a demo reel in comparison. I cannot wait to play Riven in the Unreal engine.

      • Deano2099 says:

        Hurrah! Although, man, they’ve been beavering away on that for four years and are still years off. As long Cyan didn’t do something silly with the assets you’d think they’d be able to bung it out in six months.

        • Jalan says:

          It doesn’t really help that they’ve made multiple engine switches over time either. At this point I think it’s a given that the public will have to settle in for a Black Mesa-esque waiting period.

      • Stardreamer says:

        Hmm. Love that an attempt is being made but seeing four years of little visible progress with them still sweating trivial details like the engine they need to build it with…well, let’s just say I won’t be holding my breath for a release this side of 2020.

      • Cinek says:

        That project is BS. Never gonna happen. They keep on changing plans and engines all the time while doing very little of actual work. And they keep on sucking up money from fans on a basis of totally empty promises and few people with next to no professional experience. Finally, after all that time they came back to their senses and decided to go for Unreal Engine instead of ridiculous Unity that never was capable of handling what they want to build (why the hell did they even bother with gathering money for Unity engine?) – and now they’ll probably spend next 2 years learning it and trying to do some basic stuff instead of actually creating a proper mod. Sorry, but for me it smells like one of these cases where they try to take everything from a rear and hope it’ll by some miracle eventually work instead of picking right engine from a beginning and then looking for people who actually know it to team up and build the mod.

        Having good engine and people with skill of working in it is essential – they up till last week had nothing. Now they picked the engine, but still don’t have even a single person with any experience to show in UDK. Pathetic.

    • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

      While I agree that Riven is superior to Myst (and all the other games in the franchise, though both Myst III and IV had their moments), I don’t think anyone would be well served by a 3D remake. What I’d DO like to see is a reissue with higher res renders, since HD and CD space is not as big an issue nowadays.

      • Deano2099 says:

        See I disagree. The puzzle design in Riven was tremendous, but hamstrung by the interface. Riven is all about figuring out how things are connected, getting a real sense of the place and the links between them. But the slideshow interface made that really hard to do.

      • Jalan says:

        Exile was fantastic. Presto took the series in the right direction but once Ubisoft released Revelation it felt almost as if it was taking a step backward (albeit a visually pretty and sound effect-rich step backward). By the time End of Ages was released and Cyan was back at the wheel the end was just a rather unsatisfying experience.

        Assuming Obduction sells well, maybe they’ll consider funding a better conclusion to the Myst series or possibly tossing money at Ubisoft to get them to release the stranglehold they have on the licensing rights to Exile and Revelation that they seem to not want to bother doing anything with these days so those games can see the digital light of day.

  5. Zelnick says:

    It’s nice to see more adventure games getting released or re-released. It appears Gone Home will have a bit more competition with this one out. Cyan should focus on remaking the remaining 2D Myst games into 3D more than just sprucing up an already existing 3D game though.

  6. Matzerath says:

    “I don’t know how to progress! All there is is this stick and a dead horse. I can beat the horse with the stick, but nothing’s happening!”

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      It sounds like your game series has crashed. Try doing a Gritty Reboot.

  7. JackMultiple says:

    Ha! Pyst! I’m pretty sure that was Firesign Theater’s Peter Bergman as the opening narrator, recently deceased I believe. He was the voice of Lt. Bradshaw in the brilliant “Nick Danger” radio plays. I miss those guys…

    • Jalan says:

      He wrote the game. I still wished they would’ve had the means to finish the sequel to Pyst though. One of those eternal “what could’ve been” scenarios.

  8. AJLeuer says:

    As far as I’m concerned, Richard Cobbet’s take on Myst is still the definitive one.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      Thanks for this :)

    • Stardreamer says:

      It’s astonishing how much hatred Myst gets from the ‘hardcore’ gaming press, and even on these hallowed pages where experimental indie games, text adventures and even stranger digital expressions are treated thoughtfully and respectfully. It all seems to come down to the “slideshow” with Myst, which wilfully ignores the wonderful sense of place and mystery these games delivered.

      The hatred has always been disproportionate to Myst’s crimes and Richard’s piece – where he even admits his opinions are irrational – is simply more of the same, verbal urine pissed on to a game that deserves much better.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        I know you like the game and are feeling a bit of chagrin at all the criticism its getting, but he doesn’t say his opinions are irrational. He says “At that point I decided the whole series had become some kind of vindictive beast, targeting me personally. Irrational? Perhaps. Maybe even definitely.”. Its a joke, implying paranoia.

        We’ve all got a soft spot for certain games though. I get upset if anyone is mean about STALKER >_> *swears in russian*

      • Yglorba says:

        A lot of the hatred isn’t really for Myst itself, it’s for the imitators it spawned. For a long time, there was a glut of really, really terrible Myst copycats.

      • Risingson says:

        It’s amazing how a dissident opinion usually is taken as irrational hate, though it is so well explained. It is also amazing how a dissident opinion generates a straw man of “indie games appraisal” without going to the specifics, just stating that as a fact.

        Sarcasm aside, I hate/admire Myst, but I absolutely loath Riven, the game of the most boring backtracking in history, the game that has that 3d puzzle, the game that makes me jump in rejoice when playing to Black Dahlia, Ripper, 7Th Guest, Daedaus Encounter, Obsidian and so on because of their care with the storytelling. “Everything is a puzzle” is one of the laziest excuses I’ve found for a design based on backtracking. Which, btw, is bad per se.

        Graphics were spectacular, on the other hand. And Myst 3 is pretty pretty good. And of course there are way worse games than the whole Myst saga, as, sorry for mentioning them, the Schizm pair.

      • Stardreamer says:

        Cobbett has tried to find rational explanations for his hatred but they ring resoundingly hollow. For example:

        “Myst reinforced the toxic idea that adventures were about puzzles and boredom rather than adventure and fun”

        Is this statement backed up by anything concrete other than references to games and series that may have failed for more complex reasons than the existence and runaway success of Myst? Where did the puzzles-first idea come from for Myst reinforce? Why is the concept “toxic”? Why does his narrow, highly subjective definition of fun fail to recognise the immense pleasure and satisfaction that other people get from the game?

        “irrational”. Empty words powered by strong feeling and very little else. If you can’t explain why you dislike anything without creating extreme caricatures of it or providing proof of something actually being wrong with the game then the problem isn’t with the game. Disliking something is perfectly ok but at least have the grace to acknowledge it just isn’t for you – as the lovely Mr Meer did above – rather than penning an article trashing the shit out of it. That’s what’s irked me more than the fact someone dislikes Myst; it’s just plain rude.

  9. Tom De Roeck says:

    but why isnt riven getting remade. arrrrrg

    (I love the Myst series, even though Ive only played 1 – 3 – 4 and read all the books)

  10. bill says:

    I bought realMyst a few years back in the GOG sale, but it crashed every time I tried playing it. (my drivers fault, I think). I haven’t had a chance to go back and try it since I sorted out my drivers.

    But, having never played it, I’m rather confused by the dislike it seems to generate among the RPS hive mind. IT SOUNDS LIKE just their thing. An exploratory adventure game. Isn’t that exactly the kind of thing they have been calling for / championing?
    (though we now have hundreds of the bloody things…)

    I vote for a WiT of the new myst by someone who hasn’t played it or doesn’t remember it. It’d be interesting to see if it’s as bad as they think.

    • Jalan says:

      Just like the last time there was anything mentioned about Myst, I guess I’m missing the part where people are dumping on it or saying how bad it was.

      realMyst is a completely different thing – and it’s easy to hate it if one is a Myst purist (which I believe was a factor in why Robyn Miller denounced it so harshly).

      But most of the dislike of realMyst seems to be that in its current state it hardly runs at all on most PCs (though the same can be said of the original, depending on what version someone is trying to run) and the same flaws the original realMyst had seem to have been carried over into the Masterpiece release (though some assume that Cyan will patch this version over time and hopefully fix some of the nagging faults).

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        Quoting from Richard Cobbet’s take on it:

        “For the record, this is how Myst works. You wander through a deserted, static world, poking and prodding at levers and buttons until somehow stumbling on the designer’s favored brand of moon-logic and manage to open the door in front of you. Fans will tell you that these locations are rippling with symbolism and artistry, crafted and written in magic world-books by the master wordsmith Atrus. I disagree. All I can think about is how annoying it must be to be a visitor in his house, suddenly realizing you need to solve a puzzle involving the orbits of the sun and the moon as they relate to duck flatulence simply to get into his bathroom”

        I’ve never played it, but it seems this is the source of the greatest hating leveled at it.

        • Scurra says:

          There is indeed a huge divide between those of us who are “puzzlers” – and embrace things like cryptic crosswords, Stephen Moffat’s version of Doctor Who and, yes, Myst, – and everyone else – people who find even Sudoku pointless, prefer Russell T. Davies’ version of Doctor Who and, yes, hate things like Myst.

          It’s not a computer thing particularly, but it’s a very good example of a type of tribalism where it is very hard to change sides; if you don’t “get” puzzles, then you probably never will – unless you are wiling to put in a lot of work, which, to be honest, most of us aren’t… And it’s hard to quantify the intellectual satisfaction gained from understanding how a puzzle works, rather than merely the “solving” part, which is merely part of it., which makes it difficult to explain. (Then again, I don’t understand why people get pleasure from watching other people kicking a ball even after people have tried to explain it.)

          • strangeloup says:

            I dislike Stephen Moffat and like Myst, so there!

            I’m not sure what point I’m trying to make here.

          • Jeroen D Stout says:

            I hate Steven Moffat, love RTD and love Myst… what gives?

            I do not even see how Moffat’s stories are puzzles. Myst puzzles were not plot-hole filled deus-ex-machina solutions.

        • ffordesoon says:

          Yeah, Cobbett sums it up. If someone made a Gone Home-style remake of Myst with all the goddamn puzzles removed, I’m sure I’d love it. Myst’s puzzles are the worst example of “guess what the designers were thinking that day” in the entire adventure genre. I have no problem with puzzles in my adventure games (though the obsession with them has always mystified me, since they’re not called puzzle games), but Myst’s puzzles are there to make the game longer and nothing else.

          • Geebs says:

            Myst’s puzzles were unusually logical for adventure games of the time, and there were plent of cryptic clues in the environment. Much better than most of the use jam with doorknob to get sieve crowd.

            The only thing it really did wrong was be very successful, which is the worst possible affront to an English person.

          • ffordesoon says:

            Well, I’m an American. Where does that leave me?

            If they were logical to you, fantastic. I know plenty of people loved and continue to love Myst, and I’m not cynical enough to believe that those people loved it just because it was pretty – especially not these days, when a phone can pump out more technically impressive game in full 3D without breaking a sweat.

            There has to be something people like about it, and as the puzzles are half or more of the game, one assumes the folks who like Myst like the puzzles, too. I’m not someone who gets all stroppy about others liking a thing I don’t like (well, usually). If anything, I’m jealous. I wish I could like everything in one way or another. But I don’t and I can’t.

          • Geebs says:

            Sorry, I wasn’t having a go at you. I was trying to explain why British game journalist of a certain age have such a huge hate-on for Myst.

            OTOH – what adventure games have you been playing where the puzzles weren’t there to prolong the game? Apart from the recent ascendency of the no-guns-and-conversation genre.

        • Jalan says:

          Fair point. I don’t even have an adequate counter to it since even if I wanted to point out that hatred directed toward the puzzles is merely a part of the game, since it’s Myst being talked about after all, the puzzles are essentially the core of it.

          • Stardreamer says:

            Yeah, it’s a purer form of puzzle solving that just happens to be dressed like an adventure, a reversal of the classic template of an adventure that contains puzzles. Each Myst game is essentially a box of serially presented logic puzzles, with each key opening a new puzzle/location. The narrative in each game simply acts as the medium of presentation by providing context and giving the puzzle-solver something vaguely interesting to experience whilst the brain chews through the logic.

            And yet some still persist in comparing them to the likes of Monkey Island….

      • bill says:

        Well, from this article: “Recalling infuriated experiences with it as a child, I am quite sure that Myst isn’t for me in any form,”
        but I was really referring to a long history of negative comments about it from various RPS writers. (I don’t’ remember which) .
        I have no idea if they are right or wrong, just that i’d be interested to know if their opinions are based on current experience, or on memories from teenage years.

        I’d probably have hated a game like Myst (or Proteus, Fract, Kairo, etc..) when I was young… too slow, not enough action.
        But my viewpoint would be totally different now.

  11. bill says:

    PS/ I can’t believe there isn’t an android version of Myst. It seems like just the kind of game that i’d like to play on a tablet. (though that would involve buying it again). Grrr..

  12. CookPassBabtridge says:

    Has anyone here played a Source mod called Mistake of Pythagoras? I am suddenly reminded of it, perhaps by the idea of Myst’s impenetrable puzzles. It had them in abundance but was very cleverly put together, especially alongside the designer’s unique take on the half life gunplay. It is also had an incredible ‘twist’ at the end, which I hope is still included in the current version.

    EDIT: It looks as though the current version no longer co-operates well with source. Unfortunate – I remember that mod fairly blowing my mind.

  13. DanMan says:

    You know, I for one would really like to seed this Gouraud question resolved.

    • bear912 says:

      I think it’s mostly Phong shading these days (though maybe Phong shading’s getting replaced as well?), though I wouldn’t be surprised if Gouraud gets used here and there. As I understand it, Gouraud shading uses the surface normal of a vertex to calculate a color for that vertex, and then interpolates the vertex colors across the polygon. Phong shading, on the other hand, interpolates the normal values for each vertex across the polygon, and then calculates the color of each pixel using the interpolated surface normals, which alleviates some of the problems you’d get with Gouraud shading when a highlight was in the middle of a polygon.

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  16. WildKarrde says:

    You can check out a side-by-side video comparison of RealMyst and RealMyst Masterpiece here: