Riven For iPad Interview With Cyan Worlds' Rand Miller

Earlier this year, Cyan Worlds released a fully explorable 3D version of its classic PC mystery game Myst for iPads. Shortly after release we interviewed the co-Founder and CEO of Cyan Worlds, Rand Miller, who teased that a version of Myst's sequel Riven was currently in development for the platform.

We decided to catch up with Rand to find out the latest on Riven's development, realMyst's success on the App Store, and when we might finally be able to get our hands on this long-awaited sequel. Read on for all the details you need to know about this upcoming, enigmatic adventure.


realMyst has been out for around five months now. Have sales of the game met your expectations and can you talk us through your experience of creating and selling software in the App Store?

realMyst sales have gone past the break-even point, which is always good news. realMyst was much tougher to convert than we anticipated, so it was a relief to at least pay the bills.

Creating and selling software for the App Store has generally been a positive experience for us. The income doesn't move us into higher tax brackets, but it is very satisfying being in control of the process from start to finish: financing the development of these smaller projects, controlling the development process, and then reaping the benefits without a middleman. It's very liberating, even if the risk is higher and payoff might be less in some instances.

And aside from the business aspect of the App Store, there is also the fact that we feel like our products are made for a touch interface. Porting our worlds seem so natural and satisfying.

The last time we interviewed you, you mentioned that you had a version of Riven up-and-running on your iPad. What's been happening in development since then?

We have spent many months fine-tuning the Riven experience for the iPad, touching almost every aspect of the game. We have reduced the compression of the original images, we've improved the movies and animations, we've cleaned up the user interface, we've improved the sound and music presentation, and we've added a few small new features. All in all we've worked really hard at making the best iPad version of Riven we could, and still squeeze it into the 2 gigabyte size limit.

realMyst was only available for the second-generation iPad and above. What hardware will Riven for iPad be capable of running on?

Riven for iPad will work on any iPad, including everything from the first generation to the iPad Mini.

How have Apple's recent new hardware releases affected development?

The latest hardware hasn't really affected things. With the iPad mini in particular Apple wisely designed it to be as compatible as possible, so Riven for iPad works perfectly on it.

You mentioned that a "realRiven" (fully explorable) wouldn't be possible on the iPad platform. Is that still the case, or does the new hardware change your position?

"realRiven" might be possible some day, but the risk-reward ratio makes it very improbable in the near future. We had to take advantage of previously built realMyst models and textures to even consider doing realMyst on the iPad, and even then it was a challenge. Riven has never been converted to real-time, so it would have to be built more or less from scratch. That's a big job.

Have you considered an installment in the Myst universe purely for mobile devices? What are your philosophies when it comes to choosing platforms?

We are focusing on mobile at this point because it allows for the smaller budgets that work well for our current economic situation. We will be taking the work that we've done porting our products to the mobile market and updating versions for current Mac and PC platforms.

The Kickstarter possibility has inspired us to discuss moving beyond porting our previous content to creating some pretty interesting, larger, original products. The platform target has yet to be decided, but if I had to guess I'd say that mobile will definitely be a part of it.[/B]

Are you able to share a release window or date for Riven with Modojo readers? What stage of development is the game at now?

We're very close to submission with Riven for iPad at this point, within a week or two.


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