Could you do a credible version of Myst on an Apple II in lo-res mode?
The answer seems to be just barely. I think you could also make a nice
version with hi-res graphics, but they are 8 times bigger and it would
be harder to fit on a reasonable number of disks.
One observation, Myst island is very dark and brown. Maybe a system
with lots of browns (hello C64!) would work better.
This is not the full game, but you can walk around the main island, solve
a few of the puzzles, and even travel through a few books.
The graphics were all done by hand, and the quality is a bit irregular
as I was trying a few different techniques.
The game is just a series of "rooms" you can walk between. Each room
has four exits, N/S/E/W. In each room you can have one item you can
poke around with. This maps the gameplay fairly well, though the real
game you can have more than 4 exits from a room.
The whole thing is written in 6502 assembly language, runs on a system
with 48k of RAM
and fits easily on a few 140k floppy disks.
To move the "pointer" use the arrow keys or WASD (your emulator might
not support up/down arrow as the original Apple II didn't have them).
Use enter or space to move or for action.
If you haven't played through the real game it might not be obvious
how to beat things. This version is close enough to the original that
a walkthrough for the original game can help you through this one.
The code is actually surprisingly simple and not very big.
It helps that I could re-use a lot of the lo-res drawing code from
my Another World project.
The big time-sink is the graphics, which take a while to draw
and there are just so many scenes.
Q. So how did you draw the graphics?
A. So for 40x48 resolution you can't just take a paint program
and have it do this automatically. That tends to lose a lot
of important details.
For some of the simpler backgrounds I just draw things freehand
while looking at a screen-capture.
Otherwise I take a screenshot and drop a 40x48 grid on top
and then trace over it. The scummvm/masterpiece edition
is very close to 560x336 resolution which scales nicely to 40x48.
The hardest part of this is color selection,
as the 15 Apple II colors are a weird bunch and don't make gradients
well. I sometimes try to do things like make color 2 (a sort of
blue-purple color) act as a shade of grey, which rarely works.
Q. Have you played all of the MYST games?
A. Yes, all of them, multiple times. I haven't quite finished
Obduction yet. My favorite is probably Riven.
Q. Have you met the devs of the game?
A. Not the Millers, but I have met the oft-forgotten co-developer
5 July 2020 -- Release v0.89
Implemnted the planetarium/dentist-chair level.
This was fairly tricky with lots of odd corner cases, including some
that might have been bugs in the original game (all months with 31 days?
odd behavior if you lower the panel while the light is flashing?).
The "SED/CLD" 6502 decimal mode helped a lot. Am still cutting some
corners compared to the original game.
Some other minor changes too, improved some of the graphics on Myst island and
moving some other things around.
1 July 2020 -- Release v0.88
Top level of Channelwood implemented, you can collect the pages and
view the ripped letter. You can even play around with part of
the projector machinery.
26 June 2020 -- Release v0.87
Second level of Channelwood Age implementd.
This level is huge! I'm going to have to break it into 3 pieces, even
with leaving out a lot of side paths.
Also it looks like it might take 3 floppy disks to hold the game.
Though once it's done it might be able to squeeze it back to 2 if you
play various optimization games.
Have also implemented loading of saved games. Only for debugging now
as you can't actually save yet, only load.
16 June 2020 -- Release v0.86
Lower level of Channelwood Age implemented. Water valves not implemented,
but you can link back to Myst.
This age is a pain, with lots of water, trees, and wood. At least there's
no bricks or checkred floors.
With this linking book you can finally get to all the ages and back.
It had been bothering me that you could potentially get stuck on
Channelwood for a while, leading to a Myst Exile type situation for
any unfortunate traveleers.
29 May 2020 -- Release v0.85
Most of Selenetic Age implemented, but not the puzzles.
The sound puzzle is going to be difficult due to the Apple II's poor
The submarine puzzle is just long and not much fun so it might
never get implemented.
This was a hard one as there are a lot of colors, including some odd
color choices (the crazy crystals) and it was hard to map this to
21 May 2020 -- Release v0.84
Can now talk to both brothers, and could in theory lose the game
(in theory because it's not possible to gather all of the pages yet).
21 April 2020 -- Release v0.83
Started implementing the tree area (without puzzles yet) and you can
get to Channelwood (but can't return).
Also got a bit carried away and have a lot of Stoneship implemented.
Running into the 48k limit with Stoneship but should be able to make it fit.
Also, you can link back from Stoneship. I actually end up feeling stressed
if you can get to an age with no return, I don't want to be like Atrus
(in Exile) and end up accidntally trapping someone.
8 April 2020 -- Release v0.82
Sadly things got big enough it's going to take two disks
(or both sides of one floppy). Added support for the tower rotation,
including a lot of animations. Also added books to the bookshelf.
28 March 2020 -- Release v0.81
This adds u-turn support. The dimensional imager works.
Beginning of the stone ship age.
24 March 2020 -- Release v0.8
A bugfix release fixing some issues encountered when you
leave/return to the main island from various ages. Encountered more or
less all the bugs when trying to show off the game to family.
23 March 2020
First finished the rocket puzzle by adding the circuit breakers on the tower.
Then got completely carried away and implemented most of the Mechanical Age.
Took a lot of time and is much bigger than I expected. It looks like it
might take two 140k floppies if I get around to implmenting the whole game.
15 March 2020
Implemnted the puzzles (Generator Room and Spaceship Controls)
to get to the Selinitic Age. The age itself is not implemented.
Its colors are even worse for the Apple II than previous. Also
there's a big sound puzzle and then the interminable sub maze
which would be complex to implement.
9 March 2020
Well that one video I posted got unexpectedly popular. Including
the crew at Cyan! Hello to the Cyan people if you're reading this, I
apologize in advance for some sarcasm about the game's plot that I
sprinkle around in places.
8 March 2020
You can now solve the clock related puzzles, open the gear, and
travel to the Mechnical Engineer age.
5 March 2020
You can now access all of the marker switches.
4 March 2020
Moved all compression to
which freed up nearly 8k of space. It's not quite as fast
as the previous RLE algorithm I was using though.
I thought I was done, but I might be adding some additional features,
3 March 2020
Still room in memory, so added a few more locations.
2 March 2020
Added some more graphics and sound, and threw the release out the door!
1 March 2020
Threw this together over a weekend, because why not.
Cursing Atrust more than normal for all his granite and wood which are a pain
to convert down to GR resolution.