Myst developer Cyan was deep into the project before knowing if it would even run on CD-ROM

Shawn Knight

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As co-creator Rand Miller recounts in a new episode of Ars Technica’s War Stories, they absolutely pushed the limits of what was possible with the tech of the time.

Miller notes that Myst was the sort of game that simply would not fit on a floppy disk – CD-ROM was the only other option. What’s more, because they had made a game in which you don’t die, level up or start over, the only way they felt they could give customers an experience truly worth their money was through “sheer brute force amount of real estate” to explore.

Cyan’s target audience was consumers with a mainstream multimedia computer – translation, those with a 1x CD-ROM drive. The problem is that the technology was so new that the developer didn’t even know until deep into the project if simple things like transitions between scenes were going to be feasible within a reasonable amount of time.

As you'll see in the video, tricks like image compression and disc layout were key to getting everything to work as intended.

If you are at all a fan of Myst or have an interest in the history of PC game development, I would highly recommend checking out the full episode.

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I was still using my Amiga when this was developed (Until about 2005 in fact), I recall magazine pictures and articles about its development. I never actually got to play it though. It looked amazing back then of course. Getting all nostalgic now :)