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Thursday, 6 September, 2001, 12:57 GMT 13:57 UK
Q & A: The man behind Myst III
Myst III
Myst games are renowned for their photogenic realism
By BBC News Online's David Gibbon

Few computer games have gone on to sell over 10 million copies, but the Myst series is the exception to the rule.

Featuring graphical environments that are so photogenic that they look real, the Myst games are also renowned for their ingenious puzzles.

Rand Miller, who created the Myst games with his brother Robin
Rand was inspired by CS Lewis and Tolkien
The series was created in the early nineties by American brothers Rand and Robyn Miller, who first set up their company Cyanworlds in 1987.

To find out more about the Myst world, BBC News Online met up with creator Rand Miller at the game's official launch in London.

Is it the same team that worked on the original who also worked on Myst III: Exile?

No. Some of the team who worked on the original Myst are still working with me at my company Cyanworlds, but Myst III was actually created by Presto Studios. However, I did help out with this - purely on a consultant level - to make sure the storyline was maintained.

The series went on to make over $250 million in revenue - which is quite amazing.

What inspired you to create the Myst series?

My brother and I - I think we just loved making alternative places. We kind of grew up on CS Lewis and Tolkien and those marvellous places.

We started making our own and I don't think we had monsters in them or killing - it was just making interesting places and I still remember doing one that was a lot of fun. It had a lot of puzzles and things you had to solve and I can see - looking back - somehow that was related to what we did with Myst.

How many people worked on Myst III: Exile?

We had about 30 people - about the same number that worked on Riven - and it took around two years to create.

What is Myst III's storyline?

It is an interesting flow from the first Myst. It is the fact that a father - through no fault of his own - has caused his sons to do some terrible things and someone comes back to avenge those things. The player becomes mixed up in that whole revenge scenario.

Scene from Myst III
3D models of each of the 5 worlds was created
I understand that three novels have been published, based on the Myst world?

That's right. The Myst story is huge and the games are only a small part of it - so the novels explain the back story as there is a lot of history that leads up to Myst. There are three books available called: Myst: The book of Atrus; Myst: The book of Ti'ana and Myst: The book of D'ni and we have more planned.

The graphics in Myst III are superb - how much work went into perfecting them?

With Riven and with Exile as well, the goal was to create graphics that were as good as anything you see. It was important that scenes look like photographs and that's not easy to do. And in order to allow 360 degree sight, our 3D artists had to build whole models of the five worlds on computer and then add texture to that.

The game includes a number of real life actors, including Brad Dourif who appeared in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest - how many featured in total?

All the actor work was done on a blue screen background and there was four in total - including myself. I played Atrus - but didn't find it very enjoyable.

Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg is said to be a Myst fan
With many games becoming movies, Myst seems the ideal candidate. Can you see this happening in the future?

I think there is a possibility. I think at some point it will - I hope we can keep enough control over it so that it's good as there is always a risk.

Will it appear on other formats other than PC?

It is also out for Apple Mac and I know it is coming out for PlayStation 2 and GameCube next year. It may appear on X-Box too.

Are you planning more games in the Myst series?

We are actually working on a Broadband Internet Myst game and in addition I think there will be a Myst 4.

Myst III is available on PC format from 7 September

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