The interviewee is Rand Miller, the CEO of Cyan Worlds, Inc., the maker of the Myst series, as well as a number of other games. This last Tuesday, July 23, in the DMR’s neighborhood (Myst Online in-game location) at a Cavcon gathering Rand was there to answer some questions.
Cavcon is about fan funding of the servers running the free to play Myst Online: Uru Live.
You can get a copy of the audio MP3 recording from a link in the MOUL Forum in Planetary’s (KI# 12347523) post: Rand Miller Interview 2013. File size 53mb. You can listen to or download from the link in the post.
I’m not into to transcribing the audio. I paraphrase as I listen and write. While the questions are more of a transcription, they too are mostly paraphrased, especially some of the rambling questions. I also have not tried to capture all the nuance of Rand Miller’s answers. You are unlikely to be able to tell when someone is joking, engaging in satire, sarcasm, or inside jokes. So, listen to the audio if something upsets you and especially if you plan to start a rant.
Also, the time marks are approximate. They will only get you close.
There is a short summary at the end.
0:00:00 to 0:01:00 Introductions
01:00 – Rand saying h will answer all questions so well there will never be any more questions… you have to know when he is clowning around.
02:00 – Question: Will there ever be a new Myst game? – The word makes it hard to ssay there will never be another. Rand and Cyan peeps have tossed ideas around. Possibly, but not a sequal. May be a reboot or rewrite. Rand talks about the problems with rebooting a story. Uses StarTrek example. The short answer is there is nothing in the near term radar.
03:50 – Question: If you could put Myst on a game console which one and why? – Rand found it an interesting question. Explained why they used the mouse, something that fades away. Consoles are about learning the interface. It is too present. They aren’t focused on consoles. Tech is making building worlds more interesting and easier. That aspect of consoles is interesting.
06:22 – Question: There was once talk of a Kickstarter project. Previous questions were more about which game project might be put up for a Kickstarter. Simplifying: might there be a Kickstarter project this year? – Rambling, but saying they are part way down that road. It will be a new project that echoes back to the feeling of the original Myst. Rand is excited about it.
08:15 – Question: If you can get permission would Cyan make a Real Myst Exile and Real Myst IV/Revelation? – Rand jokes about Real Myst V and says he likes the feel of Real Myst. Real Myst type remakes take a lot of work. Making Real Myst for games where Cyan does not have the models and textures would cost more than could be made. Rand doubts they could come close to breakeven.
10:15 – Question: What are some of Cyans goals for this year and in the future? – Happy to be alive. They are small but strong. They are trying to maintain what they have, update previous software. iOS is apparently a rewarding area. Andriod is still a target. Conversions to other languages, Rand has a cousin that is fluent in Chinese and Myst is being translated. They would like to update Real Myst for Windows and Mac. Watching MOULa and keeping it going. Spending spare cycles on the Kickstarter project.
13:00 – Question: Any update on the Myst Movie? – Rand says he doesn’t really understand Hollywood. They try not to get their hopes up. It seems many things would need to happen for a movie to work out. For now Cyan is learning and working toward it.
Cyan is in a different place then Hollywood; Cyan is small and in control of their destiny. Making a movie with Hollywood would be giving up control to power associates that would have control. Rand doesn’t mind any of that, but it is a change to a lifestyle they are enjoying.
14:50 – Question: Has Cyan ever considered opening the city Ae’gura to fan added content? – Rand says they have had extensive discussions on how to add fan created content. They find it a tricky thing. They feel they have settled on a reasonable way. The answer seems to be: no. Rand explains it in terms of how the D’ni would have handled new writers in their day. The books made by experienced and new writers would be separated so people knew what they were getting into. So, a line between Cyan and fan created content will be kept.
17:20 – Question: Who came up with the dance moves in Uru and were there any dance-offs in deciding which dances to use? Jason Baskett (sp?) was Cyan’s primary animator. He made the dance. There were various versions of them over the years. A high point was when he made one for Rand’s avatar.
18:30 – Question: Will there be additional dances, air guitar…? – The original plans for Uru were to add lots of things like this. All sorts of things could have been added if Uru had continued. Now it is hard to do. But, rand hopes to get to where fan content can be added.
19:20 – Question: In Myst IV credits refer to Team Revelation. Are these people that Cyan needs to contact to get permissions for use of Revelation content? – This is an ongoing quest. The problem is finding the people with the authority and will to make things happen. Rand thinks Myst IV is likely. It is just getting past the priority of people’s work days at Ubisoft.
21:30 Question: Is there anyway Cyan can update the 3DS plug-in documentation and what the possibilities for opening some of the doors in places like the Watchers Pub? – Rand says they would love to do that. They are a small company so it is hard for them to do that. Cyan’s resources are small and the cash flow is small. If they work on things that do not improve cash flow then the company has to get even smaller, which means they can only do less.
There are suggestions of doing a Skype secession and other low impact to Cyan things so they can answer questions on the plug-in. Rand likes those ideas.
23:20 – As far as the doors… For the time being they will remain closed. Rand says the doors were part of the original plans. Rand still has hopes of being able to put their ideas behind those doors. Also, there is that design concept of keeping Cayn and fan contents on their respective sides of a very clear dividing line.
24:10 Question: If a handful of developers came up with funds to pay someone, could Rand recommend someone to hire for a Skype secession in regard to sorting out the plug-in? Rand thinks this is a great idea. He doesn’t think money needs to be pooled. It would be more important to get the questions on point and prioritized before the Skype secession. Allowing both sides to work on the questions and answers before the secession. Many of the question could be answered in text with a follow up Skype secession for clarifications. Rand says they will try to make something like that happen.
26:00 – Break – cut out 26:10 Back
26:20 Question: Will goodies like Sharper’s Hat or the Great Tree Jacket be made available? – Rand thought everything was enabled. But, they have missed some things. The want everything in the game to be available now.
27:10 Question: Will there ever be tasteful in-game advertising to support MOULa? – The idea of reopening the Cavern with a corporate sponsor that paid all the bills was worked out. It seemed to fit in with the IC story of the DRC and sponsors. Rand has no problem with that. The question is who wants to do that (advertizing) and how does Cyan implement it with their limited resources? While Rand thinks it is nice without the ads, funding is a necessity.
29:15 Question: talk to us about your favorite pizza? – Rand likes Pappa Murphy’s bake your own.