Reference:RAWA/2000 Lyst posts

From Guild of Archivists

February 1, 2000[edit]

Ken T. wrote:

There's no way to bring the book that you're linking with with you when you link... this is why Atrus had to drop his myst book into the fissure to trap Gehn on Riven. If he could have just taken it with him, it would have been a lot easier.


Now as for the brothers removing a page from Atrus' Myst book ... you're running on the assumption that the myst book was always in D'ni. Perhaps the Myst book was on Myst, or on one of the other mystian ages, and the brothers got at it without Atrus knowing.

Hence the message from Sirrus to Achenar in the recording device in Channelwood.

"He [Atrus] is preparing [to go do D'ni]. Remember, take only one page."

Then when atrus took his myst book with him to go to D'ni, that was his only way back.


Now this brings up the question -- why wasn't there already a myst book in D'ni? ... Where *was* myst written anyway? (It's been a while since BoA...sorry :) ... Well I'd venture to guess that that myst book (which used to be in D'ni) was the one atrus brought to Riven, and dropped down the star fissure.

Yep. Atrus was very careful not to leave a link to Myst from D'ni (when preparing to trap his father in Riven at the end of the book of Atrus). He couldn't be sure his plan would work, or that he wouldn't miss one of Gehn's links back to D'ni, so he wanted to sever all the links between Myst and D'ni, just in case.

Which, of course, is why he brought another myst linking book when he went to D'ni after the brothers tricked him into going there -- because he knew there was no myst linking book there.


Nice explanation, Ken.



Wednesday, May 10, 2000[edit]

Paraphrase of fan question: If a Descriptive Book is destroyed, could another Book be made to link to the same Age?

Answer from another fan: Not likely, if the original Descriptive Book has been destroyed. The odds of writing another link to it are nil.

Just being nit-picky (what else is new?):

Because there are countless Ages that fit any given description, no matter how detailed, there is a chaotic (random) element in the process of the Book selecting which Age it links to. This will make the odds of writing a Link to the same exact Age twice _extremely_ remote (even if you copy the first Book verbatim). Possible, yes. Probable, no, but the odds are slightly better than nil. :)

Hope that helps,


Re: Of bad guys and Atrus... trailer[edit]

Date: Thursday, May 11, 2000

L.L. wrote:

I'm usually in lurker mode here, but the trailer and something another lyster said made me feel compelled to respond. In the movie, Atrus says "And it amazes me to think that the stroke of a pen can bring worlds to life." Kinda settles the old creation vs. pre-existing, doesn't it? That is, unless RAWA has something to add.

Just one thing... don't use text intended for marketing as proof text in a debate like this. :)

(It's the note on the back of the Myst box all over again...)



Assorted ramblings... Very Long...[edit]

Date: Wednesday, June 21, 2000

- - - WARNING - - -

This disgustingly long letter has taken me three days to write, as I've had time here and there to work on it, so it may be a little disjointed in places. Hopefully it'll still be coherent enough to be understood. :)

- - - - - - - - - -

There's been a lot of confusing/conflicting viewpoints on what happened to Sirrus and Achenar at the end of Myst.

I've been too busy to answer these as they come up individually, so I'm trying to address them all in one more general email. I still have over 200 unread lyst emails, so I may not address all the questions raised in these threads, but I'll probably hit many of them.

I want to start by pointing out that Myst/Riven are Cyan's attempt at recreating some of the events in the life of Atrus in a semi-non-linear medium (i.e. a game). Since it's a game where the player can do things that didn't happen in the account of Atrus' life, we've got to take some artistic license with his story - like the "losing" endings of Myst and Riven.

When making the games, we have to carefully pare everything down to the basic elements needed to play the game, leaving out almost anything that isn't required for gameplay. Myst Island, for example was made much smaller, and only the buildings/places relevant to playing Myst were included. Atrus definitely had other "places of protection" for his Books other than the ones shown in Myst. We throw in as many "extras" as we have time for, but for the most part, there isn't much time for things that aren't specifically needed for a playable game.

So the most accurate answer for many of these kinds of issues (e.g. "Why do the remaining Books coincidentally happen to be the Books with 'places of protection'?) is simply "artistic license". If we didn't have hardware limitations, storage capacity limitations, time limitations, money limitations, etc. and if we had a billion monkies working on a billion computers for a billion years, we could make the Ages more complete, which would be cool from an exploration point of view, but wouldn't make the games themselves any more playable. In fact with all the "non-game related" things thrown in, there would be a lot more "red herrings" and people would be even more confused when they write to me. :) (If I had a nickel for everyone who wrote to me asking what one of the few "extra" items in Myst did...)

The upshot of my ramblings so far is that there is a distinction between "The Complete Story of Atrus" (i.e. the D'ni historical accounts), and what we were able to portray in Myst/Riven. The problem is that you (the players) don't have direct access to "The Complete Story of Atrus". Unfortunately, this means that people often are forced to look to Myst itself to answer questions it wasn't intended to answer. Its purpose was not to be a course in D'ni history, it was designed to be game based on Atrus' life story.

"So what?!?!" I hear someone yelling in the back there. So... this means that there are different "correct" answers to many questions depending on if you're interested in the "real" answer (based on the background story not accessible to most people), or the "Myst" answer (based on the info available in the game). Sometimes the answers are the same. Sometimes they are different.

This wouldn't be a big problem if we stopped making D'ni related games. We'd just let you live with the "Myst" answer, in most cases you'd never know it wasn't right so you wouldn't even know to be unhappy with it, and the "real" answer wouldn't matter. Those who do think things through enough to be stumped with what they come up with may be bothered enough to try to get the "real" answer from me, which happened often enough for this Sirrus/Achenar question to be listed on the FAQ.

But as we make more of that background information available (hmmm, Mudpie, anyone?), the people out there who scrutinize these kinds of details are going to point to my "official" answers and say "Hey, that contradicts paragraph 3 of page 5 of blah, blah, blah" So, I've made a concious effort in the past to answer questions in a way that applies to both the "real" answer and the "game" answer as much as possible, and basically avoiding questions where the two answers blatantly contradict one another.

I've also avoided these topics because the answers just lead to a lot more questions… :)

If anyone's made it this far... Here are my answers, most of which have been on the FAQ for Myst for years (in case you just think I'm making them up off the top of my head right now :).

Q. What happened to the red and blue books at the end of Myst?

A. Atrus tried to ensure that the boys would not be able to escape the Ages they were in. In Myst this is shown by the scorch marks where the Books used to be. The historical accounts are not specific as to how he ensured their captivity. Very little artistic license taken here - burning the Books seems a very reasonable, logical way of showing this.

Q. Does destroying the Book destroy the one occupying it (aka Did Atrus kill his sons?)?

A1. (game answer) - Clearly, from the evidence given in the game, the answer is no. Burning the Book, in essence, isn't much different than tearing pages out of it - either one "breaks" the Book. The boys were obviously alive when the Books were missing pages. The main difference is that a burned Book is more difficult to put back together. :)

A2. (historical answer) - The boys would be unaffected by the destruction of the Books, except that it would make it rather difficult for them ever to be rescued.

Q. Are they in some kind of void/suspended animation?

A1. (game answer) - From the evidence in the game, no. They are aware of the passage of time. And since they're still alive after all this time, they must have access to food/water/air/etc.

A2. (historical answer) - They were in complete Ages (and probably pretty nice ones, I would guess, if the panels were to show an Age that people like the boys would be so anxious to go to.) They just had no way out of them.

Q. So why do we only see black when we're in the Book?

A1. (game answer) - Because it's night with a moonless, overcast sky, and you don't have any firemarbles/flashlights/candles (you should have brought the matches from the safe in the cabin! :)...

A2. (real answer) - We didn't like the idea of "rewarding" the player for setting one of the brothers free with another Age to see/explore.

Q. If the red and blue Books were ordinary Linking Books but leading to "Prison Ages", why do you switch places with the brothers when the Book is complete?

A. - A whole boatload of Artistic License. Completing the book is the player's way of saying "I want to free this brother." And we simplified that to its most basic elements - you're stuck in the Prison Age; he's out.

You want the complicated, more historically accurate way to free a brother?

1) complete the book so you can go to the Age he's trapped in 2) you'll have to find a spare Myst Linking Book somewhere or neither of you are coming back. This complicates the interface, and changes the game if you can carry a Myst Linking Book around with you the whole game that you can use at any time. 3a) go to the prison Age without a Linking Book - the brother and you are trapped together forever, or as long as the brother lets you live (how long do you think that will be?) 3b) Bring a Linking Book. The brother bops you on the head and links out, damaging the Book in the process so you can't follow him. 4) You're stuck in the Prison Age; he's out. We've had to do a lot more filming, modeling, rendering, changing the interface, etc. to essentially get the same ending as Myst already shows.

Don't worry, we'll fix it in "ultimateMYST: the 'See Sirrus and Achenar's Prison Ages' Edition". (Settle down, it's just a joke. :)


Now that those of you who've thought they had things all figured out to the smallest detail have had the rug yanked out from under them... go think about the implications of this information for a while. The dominoes are going to start falling, and you may be in for a few "aha!" experiences. :)

Once you think you have a handle on this new info, and you've come up with all your questions, and thought about what the answers might be, come back and finish reading this email.

I'll try to answer a few of the biggest issues that this will probably raise.

(That means stop reading now - maybe even for a couple of days, if you're like me and like to come to these conclusions on your own and you'll be disappointed by my just blurting them out...)

If you're not interested in doing that, continue… :)


Q. That means that the method used to trap Gehn wouldn't have worked as shown in Riven (using the Book to trick him to use the Book and set you free)?

A - You catch on quick! We were willing to sacrifice D'ni historical accuracy for a playable, immersive game with Riven, just as we did with Myst. In the D'ni historical accounts, the person helping Atrus had to use his/her wits in a different way to get Gehn to use the Prison Book. But simulating this was not an option with Myst/Riven's intentionally intuitive, minimal, immersive interface (i.e. no dialog boxes, no "pick which one of these three preset phrases" conversation trees, etc.). Your end of any conversations had to be implied or determined by where/when you clicked the mouse button. We took advantage of the one-in-one-out concept implied in Myst to keep the interface simple while being clear to all who played Myst (since 95% of them don't care enough about the nit picky details of the back story to see the problem anyway.)

Q. So if all this is true, then Sirrus and Achenar are only trapped in their Books because they didn't take a Linking Book to Myst (or another Age) with them?

A. Right again. They were not in the habit of carrying their own Linking Books. Every Age they had ever visited always already had a Linking Book back to Myst.

Q. But Gehn _was_ in the habit of of carrying a return Linking Book.

A. Yes, he was.

Q. So he never was really trapped?

A. According to the D'ni historical accounts, yes, he was trapped.

Q. How was he trapped, then?

A. I think you've got enough info to work this one out on your own...

<RAWA removes his "blatant Spoiler" hat and burns it, returning to his usual uninformative, unhelpful self.> :)



Friday, June 23, 2000[edit]

J.F. wrote:

But we still don't have a definitive answer about whether or not sound travels through the gateway image....

How's this...

game answer - when we need it to for a specific reason, yes.

real answer - No. Sound doesn't travel through the Books.


Re: Riven and Exile questions...[edit]

Date: Wednesday, September 13, 2000

B. G. wrote:

Shorah! I have a question about the end of Riven. At the end, you fall in to the Star Fissure after the Myst Linking Book. I assume you land back in the Age of Earth

Feel free to run with that assumption.

, but the book fell in about half a minute earlier!

And the first Myst linking book fell some 30 years ago, and still managed to make it to Earth. A few seconds will not have a noticable effect...

Another question, about Trapped AGehn. If Linking is makes a biological reaction with the skin, then how come when Atrus linked to Riven to retrieve Catherine, he could bring a linking book? Paper is made out of trees! Does someone have an explanation???

What establishes a link, and what can link once a link is established are two separate issues. Setting a pen on the linking panel will not cause it to link. Having it in your hand/pocket when you touch the panel will.

How's that?



Re: Linking book problems[edit]

Date: Friday, December 08, 2000

H.P. wrote:

1. When you go into the D'ni prison book, and Gehn prepairs to go after you, he links with is gloves on! Am I correct in assuming that to establish a link you need to touch the panel with flesh? Can someone clarify?

The short answer - yes, living tissue is required to establish a link, but some dead organic material (like the outer layer of your skin, for example) will not interfere. Gehn's gloves, it would seem, fall into the category of dead organic materials that don't interfere.

2. I read Catherines journal and it reminded me that in BoA, it says that Catherine and Anna wrote the daggers and fissures into Age 5! This I don't understand. When you add things into the descriptive book of Riven, wouldnt it change the link to another age, one exactly like Riven but with daggers and fissures? According to the D'ni, the age isnt created, it is just linked to, so how could changes in the descriptive book, change riven?

Another short answer - not necessarily. It depends on the magnitude and type of changes made.

Better, longer, more complete answers to these questions (and many others that frequently appear on the lyst) are archived in several places. Here are two of the best that I know of, though I am sure there are many others as well:

Hope that helps, RAWA