DGC Ep 166: MYST Bonus Interview with Robyn Miller

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we're so lucky to get to talk with Robyn Miller, co-designer of MYST and its artist, composer, and writer as well. We think you'll agree, it's a fascinating discussion. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
0:40      Interview!
1:06:14 Break
1:06:43 Additional discussion

Issues covered: getting into game development, bringing other interests and skills to bear, drawing a world and following what the world wanted to tell him, the fluidity of working in HyperCard, following where things take you, going to an expo with your product, HyperCard as a precursor to the web, learning that computers would connect together, each machine being isolated, self publishing and having publishers come to you, adding a soundtrack to make a CD-ROM worthwhile, a small number of games, packing in with OEMs, pushing further with MYST into narrative/cinematic/gameplay/interface, the ease of PR when you have a narrative about two brothers, throwing all your influences in like a soup, choosing an island to provide natural barriers, designing for non-linearity, diving into imaginary worlds through role-playing, dropping the mechanics of the tabletop RPGs in favor of story-based games, being into 19th century novels, multiplayer being an ideal, wanting character and story and puzzle all to be communicated together, maturing as developers, putting in doodads because you didn't know better, the order in which worlds were built, evolving the design within development, moving from 2D illustration to 3D modeling, redrawing wireframes in minutes and full frames in hours, turning off all the objects not in the view, seeing into a world for the first time/being the first person in a place, finding a video solution, having QuickTime come along at the right time, pushing the limits of technology and working with its developers, how the music came to be, proving to the publisher that music wouldn't work, wanting only diegetic audio, not wanting the publisher to corrupt the vision, mismatching emotional direction with the player experience, having the soul of an artist, unknowingly trailblazing, finding your way via your passions, a distillation of making a game.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: The Manhole, Spelunx, Captain Osmo, The Book of Atrus, Riven, Zoobreak Productions, Obduction, The Immortal Augustus Gladstone, Rand Miller, HyperCard, Bill Atkinson, Activision, Jules Verne, The Mysterious Island, Dungeons & Dragons, Rod Miller, Arthur Conan Doyle, Anton Chekhov, Quicktime, Stratavision, TRON, Chuck Carter, Macromind Director, QuickTime, Broderbund, LucasArts, Sierra, Vangelis, Michael Giacchino, Mark Crowe, 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, Supergiant Games, Bastion, The Sims, Lightning Returns.

Next time:
A bit of Obduction!

HyperCard on Computer Chronicles

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