Myst Jam

In January 2016 I participated in Myst Jam, a game jam with entries inspired by the games Myst and Riven. I created the Basaltic Age, a tiny experiment in retro game development using period-accurate tools.

I found a list of software used by Cyan during their production of the original Myst CD-ROM in 1991 and thought it would be interesting to assemble an early '90s development system. Old copies of these apps are still kicking around on the internet, and I was able to acquire versions that had been released within a year of Myst's production. I loaded them onto a Macintosh PowerBook 520c and got to work.

My goal for the project was to gain some historical insight into the creation of these old first-person point-and-click adventure games. I was surprised by just how much the constraints imposed by early '90s 3D rendering and programming tools naturally guided my game's design toward something that looked and felt very much like Myst, without even intentionally trying to match its style.

I ran out of time to complete the implementation of the main puzzle so this is simply a walking tour of the age.

Tools Used


Basaltic Age - Mac, Windows, and Linux

Install instructions

  • Launch the included Mini vMac executable for your operating system of choice.
  • When a flashing floppy disk icon appears, drag-and-drop the System.dsk file into the Mini vMac window.
  • Double-click Basaltic Age on the desktop to begin.
  • The emulator runs at 32 mhz which is rather slow to run this unoptimized prototype. To speed things up hold the Control key, then press the S and A keys in succession. This sets the emulator to "all out" speed.
  • Click in the center of the screen to move forward. Click on the left and right sides of the screen to turn. There is no object interaction or puzzles.