Welcome to Issue 15
This issue has a series of artists that were influenced by the classic adventure Myst game released back in 1993. It was originally designed by Rand and Robyn Miller and included key work by 3D artist and animator Chuck Carter who we also interview in this issue, on his latest game ZED.
Each scene from Myst was modelled and rendered inStrataVision 3D, with some additional modeling inMacroModel. It was time consuming in the making, but a memorable classic was born. Myst remained the best selling PC game for almost a decade.
Myst had something that other games yearned for – an ability to captivate the player, dropping them into a world they could believe, for the duration of their time in it, was real. In this, Myst achieved the Holy Grail of computer gaming – a truly immersive experience.
You can see that Cynthia Decker’s artwork featured in this issue has had some influence from Myst. She reminisces:
“From the moment the program started, I was in love. Everything about that game spoke to me — the story, the visuals, the sense of being free and alone, the puzzles. The theme music for the Cyan splash-screen still gives me goosebumps. I knew then that I wanted to move to making environments a part of my own artwork. Myst was hugely influential, and I feel a very personal connection with all the Myst games. I imagine a lot of people do. They were deeply immersive, mature, and breathtakingly beautiful.“
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Chuck Carter was one of the key artists on the all-time classic game Myst. Now he’s making a new game called ZED.
UNREAL | GAME DESIGN
“In every single lucid dream I am in I always lose control at some point. And then it turns pretty dark, so you know that’s something that will also make its way into the game.”
Cynthia uses Poser with Vue to create amazing environments that blend nature and fantasy architecture.
POSER | VUE | PS
“… That’s the thing about trying to recreate nature. If you think you have enough layers of dirt and plants and rocks, triple it. … build in the richness, the time, the variety, and growth of many years. “
Cathrine is a digital painter and compositor who loves Myst, and who visualises and realises superb fantasy scenes.
PS | WACOM TABLET
“I did a year of backpacking around the globe [to see] different landscapes and peoples, cultures and wildlife. So many places we find in fantasy artworks really do exist on Earth! ”
The exceptional Terragen artwork of ULCO GLIMMERVEEN
ART CONTESTS, eVolo SKYSCRAPER CONTEST, GALLERY and the IMAGINARIUM
Sample Interview from Issue 15
Chuck Carter was one of the key artists on the all-time classic game Myst (now available as an on-line version). Chuck is now making a new game called ZED.
UNREAL | GAME DESIGN
Chuck Carter at Eagre Games including ZED
DAL: Welcome to Chuck Carter, the creative director and founder of Eagre Games. Chuck help create the famous videogame Myst and many other videogames including working on the Command and Conquer and C&C: Red Alert franchises, Marvel Ultimate Alliance and many others. Chuck has also worked on TV shows like Babylon 5 as a digital matte painter, and has also contributed work on Star Trek: The Experience motion ride and Disney’s Mission to Mars. His work has also been seen through the BBC, National Geographic, the US Department of Defense and Homeland Security, NASA Caltech and JPL, as well as dozens of additional publications and organizations. Today we’re going to be talking to Chuck about ZED, his newest videogame in development. I’ve just put down a few words to try to describe the game: explorative, adventure, meditative, mysterious, dreamlike, and stunning immersive graphics. Anything else to add onto those, Chuck?
CC: That pretty much covers the gamut, I think. You know, there may on occasion be a bit more of a feeling of being in a “dreaded” kind of environment. Like almost a nightmarish environment, in one or two places. So that, if you make a choice on a puzzle, or in going into a certain location at a certain time, you might find yourself…. in something darker. I think doing it like that helps to balance the game out. You don’t want it to be too light and happy. Most dreams are never light and happy all the time. So ZED has this great value to it, because it does have this beautiful look and feel to it.
DAL: It’s also in this valuable niche of gaming which generally goes by the name of “meditative gaming”. So I think it would be good to talk about this notion and what attracted you to this?
b: Well, working on my first game, obviously that was Myst. That was the first game that worked on and it sort of started my career. Myst in essence was an immersive game. It was not violent like DOOM. You had a story that you were trying to figure out, through those two brothers in the game. You know: “which one do you release?” So by discovering more about the brothers you were essentially traversing a story, and I really found that I like that idea of how to do the gameplay. I liked that fact that the nonviolent aspect of it is something that allows you to not have to rush through a game. Because you have to survive. This is a game that lets you play pretty much at your own pace and it lets you know and lets the narrative come at you and at a pace that’s easy to understand. Most of it’s about discovery, and a lot of narrative is about the main character. It’s about discovering how you do that through these dreams. It appealed to me, because I think that right now with a lot of games — and I play my share of ‘em — they are based around violent themes. I think that it’s a good thing just from a standpoint as a designer, to try and go outside that box, and to provide people with something that’s an alternative. I think that’s something that has a real draw for a lot of people. It’s maybe the game you want to play after you’ve got to playing a big game like DOOM, to relax you a little bit. Once the player learns to slow the there’s a lot of value to be had from a game like that.
DAL: And I think personally this kind of harks back to good old text based and graphic based adventure games?
DAL: There often was a kind of violence in those games. You had swords and things to pick up and kill things with, but it allowed you to play at your own place to explore to discover. But when graphics kind of took over I think some of that got swept under the carpet. So it’s really pleasing to see this style of game come to the fore again. I don’t know if you agree, but do you think this kind of game sits side-by-side with “sandbox” games?
CC: I think so, sure. I mean in order to move through it there are puzzles, a lot of puzzles. That will either slow you down, meaning that you have to go to explore to find out other answers. I mean it’s not Myst-like in that respect, the way the puzzles are designed, but it does have that that kind of open-world feel for the most part. Not in our current demo, you don’t see that obviously — because we want to limit you where you can go in there. But for the rest of the game, I would say that it definitely fits that side-by-side with “sandbox”. It has a sort of sandbox feel to it.
DAL: And you’ve drawn visual ideas for the game from your own lucid dreams. So what are some of the elements you used from your dreams?
CC: Well, in my dreams are these large looming shapes. They just stack up. Like the blocks for instance in the demo. There is one particular pile of blocks, it seems to go way up into the sky. As a child I used to have dreams about things that pile up. I don’t know if it residual images from my early childhood, playing with building blocks, playing with the ABC blocks? Piling them up and imagining them being large buildings. But those images have stuck in my dreamscapes for years. And floating images of floating blocks of floating shapes. Things like that that seemed to kind of like follow you around or just take over in an environment in the background.
So that’s one of the elements of it. Then there’s colour — I always dreamed about dreams in black and white. For a long long time, and then one day I just had this dream that started in black-and-white and then it rushed into colour. It was more probably one of the most memorable dreams I’ve ever had. I was running with someone across a jungle. It was all black and white and then we ran out on top of this is large dome of rock and The Rock collapsed. Somehow we both fell into this into this pool of this emerald green water. Beautiful, and the sunlight was streaming down through the cracks of the ceiling, falling into the dome. We were swimming amongst all this water, and all these bright orange tigers. And there was all this green greenery along the edge, so we swam to the edge and then the jungle was just there. And the sky was deep blue… and so it’s just that whole thing still stands in my memory as my first realization that I was dreaming in colour. I was fairly young, probably 13 or 14, when I had that dream. But that still sticks with me today. There are elements of that dream which will be found in ZED as well.