20th Mysterium, Day 1

The wait is over, and the twentieth edition of the Myst/Uru community convention Mysterium has finally begun! If you could not be present, remember that you can follow the convention live on Twitch and Discord.

As some of the attendees arrived on Thursday, they relaxed in the ‘peanut shaped’ pool near the lobby, in anticipation of an exciting weekend.

The convention officially started on Friday. At 9:30 am the registration process started, pins and shirts were collected, and to some, unknown faces started to be related to familiar nicknames. As the room started filling (around 200 attendees for this milestone edition!), taniith gave the obligatory introductory words and reminders.

At 10:30 am the Starry Expanse team gave an update about their ‘realRiven’ project, illustrating the developing process, made more complex than usual by the need to translate as faithfully as possible the look and feel of the 2D game in a realtime 3D environment. They also showcased their ‘best’ demo ever, and their latest progress on the Survey Island elevator.

During the panel Marty O’Donnell, the original sound designer for Riven, announced he recovered the original unmixed sound files, and handed them to the Starry Expanse team, making it much easier to recreate the soundscapes!

After a lunch break, at 1:30 pm the From A to Zed panel (hosted by Katie ‘Kha’tie’ Postma, Chuck Carter, Neal Laurenza, and Ryan ‘Grey Dragon’ Warzecha) shared some insights into the development of ZED, a story of an aging artist lost in regret and the haze of dementia, and shared their experiences in the game development industry. Carter last visited Mysterium in 2016; you can watch his previous presentation here.

At 2:30 pm, the Tales from the Devs panel (hosted by Katie ‘Kha’tie’ Postma, Chuck Carter, Hannah Gamiel, Karl Johnson, Jason Calvert, Brandon Collins, Ryan Miller, and Eric A. Anderson) shared stories and insights from their time developing various games for Cyan (and about them being laid off and invited back again) and the different attitudes in the relation between developers and producers.

At 4:00 pm, the crowd split: some of the attendees teamed up to solve a set of devious puzzles for points and glory, also looking for random location markers hidden around public areas of the hotel for extra points. At around the same time, the first autograph session with the special guests started.

After the dinner break, at 8:00 pm more activities followed: some tried a VR demo of the Survey Island elevator (as many commented, the place it’s larger than what you might expect!). Some tried the Escape the Age card game, designed and built by Fused Shadow and Devon: inspired by the Unlock! game, you solve a mystery by interacting with the Ages we know and love in new ways. Blade ran an Unwritten campaign, a RPG adventure through the Ages. The second autograph session was also held.

Other attendees just chilled out with new and old friends, chatting about games, puzzles, and ideas.

And now, we are ready for the second day and one of the highlights of this year’s edition: the trip to Cyan HQ!

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