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Cyan Worlds Closes 184

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the lots-of-loose-talent dept.
ThPhox writes "Several former employees are reporting on their blogs that Cyan Worlds, the creator of the Myst series of games for Macintosh and PC, has apparently closed. Myst was the best selling PC game of all time, until The Sims, and inspired four sequels, three novels, and a spin-off MMORPG. In 1993, it had amazing graphics, and was one of the first games to be released on CD-ROM. Riven, released in 1995, stunned the world with unparalleled graphics and story. Cyan, you will be greatly missed. But, as they say; 'Perhaps the ending, had not yet been written...'"
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Cyan Worlds Closes

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  • Dupe'd/10. Way to go, editors.
    • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Informative)

      by nmb3000 (741169) <nmb3000@that-google-mail-site.com> on Saturday September 03, 2005 @05:55PM (#13473118) Homepage Journal
      Way to go, editors.

      No shit. Even Slashdot's piss-poor search engine found it with a simple search of 'cyan'. Though I suppose it can be explained as Google's fault because they haven't indexed yesterday's Slashdot articles yet.

      Help Wanted:
      Slashdot Editors Needed.
      No skills required, lack of preferred.
      Broccoli for brains a plus.
      • Re:Wow. (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        See. That's what makes this message board so great: Even though you complain about it, you still have the right to do so. That's what our moderators are fighting for, aren't they? If you tried that over at k5, they would cut your blaspheming fingers off at a public ceremony!

        I think you should support our editors, because anything less is treason!

      • "Slashdot's piss-poor search engine"

        Funny, you just explained quite clearly why they don't typically use the search feature to prevent dupes, then you complain that they didn't.

        Is it too hard to just ignore the dupe stories?
  • DUPE (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 03, 2005 @05:38PM (#13473025)
    Posted yesterday, and the last bit is mangled. Here's the original.

    "I realized the moment I fell into the fissure that the book would not be
    destroyed as I had planned. It continued falling into that starry expense,
    of which I had only a fleeting glimpse. I have tried to speculate where it
    might have landed, but I must admit that such conjecture is futile. Still,
    questions about whose hands might one day hold my Myst book are unsettling
    to me. I know my apprehensions might never be allayed, and so I close,
    realizing perhaps the ending has not yet been written."
  • Deja vu (Score:5, Funny)

    by courtarro (786894) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @05:38PM (#13473032) Homepage
    I remember playing Myst back in the day. I'd make some progress, then somehow end up back where I was, going in circles the whole time. There was this spot where you could read about the news, but when you returned years later, it was always the same ...
  • by tyroneking (258793)
    "So, as Green Days Time of Your life is playing on the company intercom system. "
    • The song name is "Good Riddance(Time Of Your Life)", however, the people playing it on the radio and such cut off the "Good Riddance" part. On their greatest hits album, International Superhits!, they called it "Good Riddance".
      Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]
  • by Onymous Hero (910664) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @05:41PM (#13473043)
    I remember taking a tour of their "studio" way back in the early Myst days... I worked at a similar shop, and we'd been talking about doing stuff like that for months, and then BOOM! there it was... better than we could have imagined. They used all the common tools of the day in fantastic ways... after I got that game, I spent the rest of my workdays playing it. Research, y'know. But they weren't just crazy minds, they were very nice guys, too.

    Then again, it's not like they've died or anything... but it's still sad to see them go.
    • I remember that the original Myst was actually written in Hypercard, which was a pretty common program and had been covered in my junior-high 'computer science' class. Seeing a game like Myst, and realizing that the whole gameplay was actually implemented using Hypercard, just blew me away. Somehow it makes a thing like that seem more brilliant, when you know the frontend was done using (for the time) a pretty ubiquitous and common tool.

      Actually, there used to be a "cheat" in Myst, where you could press Com
  • ...Cyan, you will be greatly missed...

    It's like I'm going on a trip that I don't even know about yet.

    Hope be with ye,
    Cyan
  • by r2tincan (893666) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @05:50PM (#13473098)
    Maybe all the employees are just trapped in a book somewhere.
  • by ShyGuy91284 (701108) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @05:52PM (#13473104)
    The reason that studio existed was for Myst. Now that the Myst series has ended, the closed. I'm greatful that they made sure to finish up the series (I don't think it was selling so great, so I'm surprised they were able to finish it). I read the Myst books too. Good reading.
    • Has the Myst series really ended? When they released Riven, everything I read pointed to it being the last game in the Myst series. Then they released another game and said it was the last one. They did this for quite awhile.

      If there is money to be made in the Myst series, you'll see new games come out.
    • To my knowledge there was, overtly, a Myst 5 in the works already when Myst 4 hit the shelves -- so unless Myst 5 is just waiting to be published right now, the story (as its extents were most recently planned, anyway) is not quite finished.

      As the end of Revelations played out, it became abundantly clear that some big changes and revelations were happening to some of the series' characters (of which I will say no more for fear of spoiling it for someone) and it seems kind of sad to close the book on the s

      • Indeed! According to the original story [slashdot.org], the last of the series is due Sept 20th. There is hope yet (even if somewhat depressing)

        I recall someone telling me once the best part about playing Myst was just to "feel" it through their headphones... the experience was far more than just the game itself.
      • I remember at least a couple spots -- when first wadering across the pillars surrounding the fountain on Myst Island, sea sounds in the background, on the original Myst, and later in Riven when walking down through the sea cave with the holes opening out onto a view of the ocean, some tubular bells playing in the background, and eerie blue lights along the way, that I was sad that I couldn't ever actually experience the thing.

        The Myst game itself was all right. I've played games with better puzzles, though
  • The Myst series was one of the best point-and-click adventure games of all time. It had the best puzzles, the best graphics of it's time, and it didn't get old, it just sucked you in. Those games could take a long time to finish and therefore had a very high playability value. I think Cyan was an inspiration to other game developers. We shall see if any new games come out that even come close to the Myst series.
    • You've got to be kidding! The puzzles were simplistic, especially if you bothered to take notes. And they had no connection to the plot, for that matter there was barely any plot at all. Real adventure games are plot driven, and the puzzles fit into that plot. Myst is just so arbitrary. To get an idea of what I'm thinking of, check out the Secret of Monkey Island, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, or Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
    • . . . it didn't get old. . .

      It never had the chance. It lasted nearly hours.

      KFG
    • The Myst series was one of the best point-and-click adventure games of all time. It had the best puzzles, the best graphics of it's time, and it didn't get old, it just sucked you in.

      Alpine Encounter, as you probably do not know, has an intended solution that takes tho player through a series of events to eventually complete the game. However, you can short-circut the game with a simple "Take backpack, Call inspector."

      Myst is no different - you can do all the stuff necessairy to learn how to complete th

  • Opinion (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Oligonicella (659917) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @06:13PM (#13473212)
    Hate to say it, but I bought Myst, my wife and I played it, and we thought it was dull, dull, dull.

    OK puzzles (Seventh Guest's were good too), but didn't save it for us.

    To each.
    • I'm of the same opinion.

      Myst felt a lot like cocaine to me. . . lots of work to get it, and you're all excited, but the climax. . . meh.

      Long run for a short slide. After spending the hours to beat it, the ending pissed me off to no end. "Now you may explore the world to your heart's content! P.S. we reset all the annoying puzzles, do them again, bitch!"

    • Pray tell. Just what's flaming about that? Please be specific.
    • Thank god you posted, every second post was "I worship Myst and all who sail in her".

      Who cares how good a game looks if it's boring? If a game makes me feel like I wasted my time playing it, then I don't bother playing it again.

      To be fair, I don't get the Sims either - and plenty of people love that game. I figure if you want to play with dolls, play with *real* dolls (no, not realdolls you god damned sickos) in the *real* world (or action figures if 'doll' is a threatening term).

  • RIP Cyan (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SuperBanana (662181) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @06:13PM (#13473213)

    When I got a CD drive for my Macintosh LC, it came with a couple of CDs, including Cosmic Osmo and The Worlds Beyond The Mackerel [the-underdogs.org], a Hypercard interactive adventure that was somewhat of a precusor of Myst (Myst and Riven are both, in terms of gameplay UI and whatnot, rather Hypercard-ish), save the intended age group, complexity, etc. Kind of aimed at kids, but even though I was ~15-16, it was fun. Pretty nice bluesy-jazzy music soundtrack too, included as CD Audio tracks on the same CDROM (only fault of the soundtrack was that it was blatantly a bunch of MIDI machines doing the performing. Myst was much worse; cheesy MIDI instruments galore. They got much better at it with Riven, mostly by limiting themselves exclusively to "electronic" instruments, instead of trying to pretend they had real instruments.)

  • That it was so damn popular.. as a young child (I'm 18 now) I played the original Myst and I never really got anywhere (mostly randomly doing stuff as kids do). A few years later I saw a Myst walkthrough guide in a second-hand bookstore and decided to dig out the Myst cds..

    Even at 13 or 14 that damn game baffled the hell out of me and my parents (we were deeply sucked into games like monkey island and loom though).

    Why on earth did people play this game where the minimum player requirements were aparently an
    • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @06:17PM (#13473232) Homepage Journal
      Why on earth did people play this game where the minimum player requirements were aparently an IQ of 180+ and a brain the size of a small planet!

      Sounds a bit like Real Life.

    • I had the same problem when I got an NES. Couldn't figure out what to do in Zelda: no big guiding force meant I had no clue what to do (aside from complete eight or so levels, kill monsters, and collect heart containers and rupies/rupees).
    • Re:I'm suprised.. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by zakezuke (229119) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @06:49PM (#13473391)
      Even at 13 or 14 that damn game baffled the hell out of me and my parents (we were deeply sucked into games like monkey island and loom though).

      Why on earth did people play this game where the minimum player requirements were aparently an IQ of 180+ and a brain the size of a small planet!


      The same reason people to crossword puzzles. It provides a chalange. If you complete Quake II, that's nice. But you complete Myst... that's something to be proud of.

      It reminds me of the realy text adventures by Scott Adams. These things you typicaly couldn't complete in a day. My usual method was to play for a week or so, put it aside when I couldn't figure something out... then later on a little lightbulb would light up and figure out a little piece of the puzzle and then return to the game. The key difference with text adventures is the fact that the difficulty wasn't always figuring out a puzzle but rather figuring out how to phrase things in a way the game could understand. This was my problem with Scott Adams games (how do I say put bubblegum on the stick in only two words).

      Probally the best thing about Myst is the fact, other than the surreal music sucked you into the game, was the fact that it could be enjoyed by two or more people at the same time trying to figure out these puzzles. Given the choice between watching "Must See TV"(tm) or what is basicly an interative story that requires thought to figure out... i'd pick the interactive story.

      On a side note... Myst was the game that encouranged me to actually buy a freaking CD-rom drive, PCI video card, and something a 16bit sound card. Before that I didn't have much need for a rom drive as anything I needed I could get on floppy.
      • The same reason people to crossword puzzles. It provides a chalange. If you complete Quake II, that's nice. But you complete Myst... that's something to be proud of.

        But if you complete Tetris, now that's awesome ;).

  • These days, any one of us could crank out Myst classic inside a month on our desktop. KPOVmodeler and Blender for graphics stills, Audacity for sounds, gcc with the SDL game programming library. One month, tops. A small five-person Sourceforge team could do it with *style* in a month, at the very least. What I don't get, is why this genre is so often praised and so seldom successfully imitated?

    Of course, the only game I ever saw match the Myst series was Schizm - but then, as the only person on the planet

    • The graphics and sound would be technically pretty easy (although Robyn Miller's soundtrack would be hard to replicate!) and certainly the gameplay straightforward -- I used to have my students write a Myst-like game in Flash as a project in my course on multimedia. But what my students could never replicate, and what I doubt "a small five-person Sourceforge team" could do would be to get the backstory, the atmosphere, the vibrant characters and tricky yet not impossible puzzles to gel "just right" to crea
    • by HishamMuhammad (553916) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @06:36PM (#13473329) Homepage Journal
      These days, any one of us could crank out Myst classic inside a month on our desktop.

      Let me guess... you have never written a pro-grade level, have you?

      What I don't get, is why this genre is so often praised and so seldom successfully imitated?

      Maybe because it's not as easy as you picture it?

      Sorry about the cynicism, couldn't resist. Writing games is hard -- by downplaying its difficulty, you sound very naive. In most games, programming is not the hardest part, and even that is not easy to pull off "just right". Having the tools to do the art is one thing; the artists' work is another -- and that's very time-consuming and takes a lot of talent.

      • Having the tools to do the art is one thing; the artists' work is another -- and that's very time-consuming and takes a lot of talent.

        Yes, as the graphics in my blog in my sig shows, I've begun to explore some of that.

        Sorry to come off like such a wet-nose - I *have* programmed quite a bit on the hobbyist level, and have produced a few simple games, though nothing fit for release. As I recall Myst, the graphics weren't all that special by today's standards. Now Riven, I suppose I could just barely crank

    • These days, any one of us could crank out Myst classic inside a month on our desktop

      I think you completely underestimate the degree of time and talent required to produce something like that. In some ways, modeling 3D is more difficult than 2D work, because you have the added complexity of lighting, texturing, and building the models themselves. Sometimes it takes several days to get just one image tweaked to a state of completion.
    • Maybe a month in talking-out-your-##$ time, but I suspect it would take longer in real world time.
    • These days, any one of us could crank out Myst classic inside a month on our desktop.

      Wrong. The state diagram alone would be weeks of work, as would creating worlds of textures and modelling, rendering each point of view shot in each required state, and tracking everything to make sure they're seamless when you stitch the images together.

      If it was really so easy, it would have been done.
      • Wrong. The state diagram alone would be weeks of work, as would creating worlds of textures and modelling, rendering each point of view shot in each required state, and tracking everything to make sure they're seamless when you stitch the images together.

        There is no reason to stitch anything together - just use POV-RAY's 360 degree camera (which, as you can propably guess, sends sampling rays in every direction and not just forward arc), and it is a relatively simple matter to provide freely rotatable c

    • The detail is beyond what you're thinking about.

      I remember the Making of Myst video, where one of the artists was discussing the level of detail in the *original* Myst, where they'd start saying something like "Well, we want a clock on this shelf. And the clock should look old, and have this kind of markings on its front, and around the markings should be engravings, and the plate with the engravings should be screwed on, and the screws should look like the following sketch..."

      Rendering and CPU technology
    • I guess if you are just talking about putting together a picture. But for these games, its not the obvious things that make them good. Its the small details that take months to do. Its why you don't get professional programmers to do the art, you get professional artists. attention to that kind of detail isn't a skill most programmer's have.

      But yeah, the ability to program a game like Myst is simplistic by today's standards, no one can argue that. It doesn't mean that 13 years ago it wasn't ground brea
      • though I have to ask,what the hell is Schizm?

        http://www.quandaryland.com/jsp/dispArticle.jsp?in dex=414 [quandaryland.com] I was being sarcastic about being the only one to have heard of it, but darn near close! It's ancient history, now.

        What made Schizm the best game for me (second only to the complete Myst series), and killed it for everyone else, was the difficulty of the puzzles. One puzzle actually requires the use of trigonometry to solve. Another requires you to first crack a code on two seperate tablets, then tran

    • I have open office, therefore I can crank out an award winning book within a week, tops.

      You're kinda missing the point.
  • by SensitiveMale (155605) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @06:24PM (#13473260)
    Magenta, Yellow, and Black Worlds are doing just fine.

  • Cyan closed due to lack of funding. They had additional projects planned but tried for about a year to find funding for them. I don't doubt any of the projects kicked ass but studios like Cyan will always fight Rocky's Lemma of Innovation Prevention: Unless the results are known in advance, funding agencies will reject the proposal. Innovators always will fight RLoI.

    Of course, Cyan's recent MMO failure may have scared off investors. I only know this crap from a source within Cyan but I'm scarce on de

  • by PocketPick (798123) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @06:29PM (#13473290)
    Cyan, you will be greatly missed. But, as they say; 'Perhaps the ending, had not yet been written...'"

    Actually, yes it has. Myst and the Cyan studio are unfortunatly part of the dying 'adventure genre' that saw it's peak years ago and has yet to be embraced in a world of games that require fast paced, gun-toting crime lords set on City X. The inability for the PC to be seen as anything else as a MMO/FPS platform in recent years hasn't exactly helped sales either.

    Myst was top dog for a long time as the highest selling game, with Sims alone as the only game to have displaced it. For a small studio like Cyan, they've already engraved themselves in video game history. Today, that's about the best you can hope for.
  • NEWS FLASH! (Score:3, Funny)

    by stiefvater (101844) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @06:32PM (#13473303) Homepage
    a hurricane is approaching new orleans!

    soon to be posted: Bush's chances for 2004.
  • Wheel of Time turns (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Thedeviluno (903528)
    "The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to MYST, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again.
  • 1997. Riven came out in October 1997 -- I bought it the week it was released!
    • I have a copy of it here, still in the package, never installed or played (though I did remove the outer plastic wrap). I bought it at a Walmart a week before it was to be officially released, at a price less than the official release price (major screwup at wally world, no doubt).

      I never installed it or played it, because at the time the PC I had didn't have enough power to run it. I figured I would install it some day when I did. I now do have a machine that could easily play it, but since I don't fuss wi

  • I remember I bought a new computer just to play Riven. We upgraded from our LC to a Performa. The day it came out (Halloween) my friend and I had "Riven Day" instead of going trick or treating.
  • by 5n3ak3rp1mp (305814) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @07:41PM (#13473595) Homepage
    Myst was also the last amazing game to premiere on (and for a time only ran on) Macs first. I saw a demo of it at an old Macworld Expo and it blew me away. I knew it would be something special.

    When I saw the first PC versions of it in the early 90's, my little geek heart sank.
    • While the mac game world is but a small asteroid compared to the windows game horde, Myst was not the end of mac-exclusive entertainment. A little company called Bungie produced a number of games exclusively for the mac before eventually transitioning to windows/xbox. Ambrosia software doesn't make the huge retail blockbusters, but Escape Velocity was as engrossing to me as any windows game I've ever played, and I know I'm not the only one who thinks that. There's plenty of even smaller scale, yet incredibl
  • Adventure games (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mr_mophead (886977)
    Ah. Adventure games. That takes me back. To a time when games were fun and not a graphical pissing contest.
  • I played Myst, and it was... OK. I mean, the graphics were well-rendered, if no more dynamic for the quality than the technology of the time permitted. But honestly, the whole thing was nothing more than an elaborate Hypercard stack and the puzzles were nothing too difficult. I've always had trouble understanding what all the shouting was about.
    • I never got it, either. Not that I tried much. It just didn't interest me at all, and I like games like TIM (The Incredible Machine), Lemmings and such as well as Zork-alikes and the King's Quest series which is kind of a puzzle genre. I got into 7th Guest for a bit but got tired of it. I think what got me with both of them is you kept going back to the same places over and over again. Moreso with Myst, though. I felt like I wasn't getting anywere. (Hmmm, think I might drag out my 7th Guest CD and see how i
    • Never played Myst, but in the same genre, I played the 7th Guest (which came free with a CD-ROM drive) and Riven (which came free with a DVD-ROM drive). The common point I felt about these games - it was like someone said, "We have this new high capacity disk! We need to write a game that fills it up!" and they were nothing more than trying to show how much stuff you could get on a CD-ROM (and then a DVD-ROM).
  • Riven, released in 1995

    Not that it matters, but Riven was released in 1997.

    • Re:1997 not 1995 (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Pete Brubaker (35550)
      Wow. If the last thing that a company did was in nearly 10 years ago (8 for Mr. Picky here.) then maybe closing their doors wasnt a bad idea...

      I thought they closed up shop a long time ago.
      • Don't forget about RealMyst released in 2000, Uru released in 2003 (with a 2004 expansion pack when the online thing didn't work out), Myst for Pocket PC last March, and Myst 5 was supposed to be due out soon (I'm hoping it still gets released...). Plus I'm sure they had to have had some involvement with Myst 3 & 4, despite the fact that they didn't develop those two.

        And according to the Cyanworlds web site, they contract out their services as well.

        Yes, it certainly looks like they haven't done anyt
  • The puzzles are killers of keeping people interested. They actually waste too much time and cause hair pulling frustration.

  • Very sad indeed.

    the kulakovich family
  • Sad (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FlyByPC (841016) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @10:15PM (#13474137) Homepage
    ...So we lose one of the few companies to produce interesting games that don't involve shooting anything that moves. Yes, perhaps the plot and/or interface of some of their games could have stood a bit of work. But Cyan was one of the few companies producing games that appeal to the intellect and sense of adventure -- rather than to the players' adrenaline levels. Somewhat like complaining that the only sushi bar in town got only mediocre reviews -- when the alternative is the local greasy spoon.

    Who's next, Microids??
  • Early 90's luxury (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by heroine (1220)
    Cyan was one of the early excesses of the 90's. After they made their millions on Myst, the company moved to the Oregon desert where they sat around writing email and hoarding cash with no expenses. There were other stories of companies starting up in exotic locations like Phoenix and Hawaii to do work that normally was done in Silicon Valley.

    That all ended and residence in Silicon Valley is once again required.

    • They are based in Spokanne (or near?) Spokanne, Washington, and have been for many years, if not always. I should know, my uncle works there.

      Or did? I haven't talked to him in a little while... It sounds like this wasn't totally out of the blue. From the way he described it, people who worked there had been treating the job as "month to month" for some time now.

      Anyways, I was pretty sure you were full of shit from the start, but when you listed Phoenix as an exotic location, it sealed the deal...
  • I am, to this day, still amazed at the graphics that were produced for the Riven game. All those thousands of intricate 3D scenes, with a huge number of inlaid Quicktime movies for moving parts still remains to me a milestone of what computers are capable of. The riveting story with its sometimes extremely hard puzzles was second to none.

    Sigh. Even Cyan couldn't improve on their own quality with the last Myst game which used modern 3D graphics techniques like OpenGL etc.

    And thta's not even talking about the
  • Wow! I JUST picked up the 10yr anniversery set with Myst, Riven and Exile. I had played (never beaten) all three in the past, and thought I'd pick them up for the PC.

    I had forgotten how much I loved playing these games.

    I mourn the loss.

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