The Riven Journals
That's right, the Riven Journals are once again online! You can read about them below or you can just start straight away.
UPDATE:There's a temporary problem with the server code that means all cookie handling doesn't work... Which means you can't even start the puzzles! This link will bypass the initial cookie set so you can at least play the games. Things will go blank every time you finish a journal and it will be impossible to see the rewards or the easter eggs, but at least you can play the journals. I'll fix it when I have time!
So, what were they?Once upon a time, there was a website filled with puzzles called the Riven Journals. They existed at http://journals.riven.com/. Basically, they were a teaser for an upcoming game to be released by Cyan, Inc. (now renamed to Cyan Worlds, Inc.), creators of the MYST series. The game to be released was Riven: The Sequel to Myst. The fans were itching for information on a sequel to Myst, so Cyan set up the Riven Journals as a teaser to temporarily satisfy their lust for puzzles.
Okay, now I know some backstory, what were they really?The Riven Journals were designed to provide an insight into Cyan's next masterpiece without giving away any hints about the story or ending, yet still revealing some information. The information found on the journals was a deeper insight into Riven not pivotal to completing the game. However, although it was not required knowledge to play the game and enjoy it thoroughly, it enhanced the experience. While some of the content was incorrect and has been replaced by more detailed and accurate information, the majority of stuff revealed was never published anywhere else. It was a site for those who had played Myst and wanted to enjoy the sequel as best as they could, and to learn more about the huge iceberg of a story that has only the tip revealed in the Riven through some puzzles.
Did you say the magic 'p' word, Puzzles?Puzzles were set up on the Riven Journals, one at a time. Each Journal consisted of a few pages of information or a story, then a puzzle to be solved. Once the puzzle was solved, the reward was more information on Riven, a screenshot and - if you were one of the first to solve the puzzle - recognition for being one of the first by having your name added to the site in the Honorary Guildmembers page. Every so often, a new puzzle was added until there was a total of 5 puzzles to be solved(the magic number!). The site also hosted a mailing list for announcements on the updates of the Riven Journals and the development of Riven, but it wasn't anything like The Lysts - it was used for update newsletters.
So, what happened to them, why were they taken down?A while after Riven had been released, the Riven Journals were taken down as they were thought to be obsolete now that the actual game was already out. Copies may or may not have been kept at either Cyan Worlds, Broderbund (The producer at the time of the making of the Riven Journals), Red Orb (Broderbund's gaming division that eventually had their name on the box. Their site is no more so the link points to their copy in the Internet Archives) or Organic (the actual creator of the journals), who knows. If they were, they were lost to the sands of time, as I've tried asking around but no one seems to have a copy any more. All that was left were a few solutions people had hosted on their sites that were lacking the initial puzzles and stories, a few reviews and details and the Internet Archives, which contained more holes in it than filled gaps.
Wait, you just said that it's long gone but here you are with it!That's why this site is called the Riven Journals Restored - it's a restoration effort and there's been a lot restored so far. ;) See how I said there were lots of little pieces of information scattered around the web that had parts of the Journals? What I initially did is I just went scouring through the web, in search of ALL the information I could find about the Riven Journals. You would not believe how many pages I have sifted through, hoping to find just a few sentences or a screenshot. At a pure estimate here, I'd have to say it's been over 30,000 individual pages. Yes, you read that right, over thirty thousand pages. For instance, go to Google and type in Riven Journals and I can guarantee you I've clicked on every one of those links. Those that looked promising, I've checked out their entire past history through the Internet Archives, as well as any other sites that are related to/link to that page and their history. I've searched through practically every page that has ever existed about the Riven Journals, both present and past. Then I collated all of this information together to try and re-create them as best I could.
Wow, that's a LOT of searching, but you seem to have found it all!Actually, I didn't find much at all. After all that scrounging I still had very little actual substance. Only the first journal's puzzle was playable, however it wasn't exactly finishable and the journal itself had many missing images (even some whole pages!). The other four journals were practically skeletons. But because I had pieced together as much as I could and I didn't think I would ever be able to get some more on my own, on Monday the 22nd of September, 2002, I uploaded what I had and asked if anyone had any copies stowed away on their hard drives or on a backup CD/drive/disk/tape somewhere. A few years later, I managed to hunt down some of the original creators of the Riven Journals, and one of them had a complete directory dump from the servers. I was thrilled at first - until I discovered that they don't work on today's servers any more! Thus, I had to learn coding techniques from both 1997 and today, and adapt the older code to work on today's servers. I finally completed all of the required coding on Wednesday the 26th of July, 2006, releasing the final Journals on Saturday the 29th of July, 2006 (during Mysterium 2006).
So, how do I browse the journals? How does this menu system work?I used to have a fancy browsing menu system on the side, but since there are no more missing pages, I don't need it any more. Just start browsing at the beginning and away you go!
How much like the original Riven Journals are they?The Riven Journals were originally coded to run on very old versions of Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator (Internet Explorer 2 and Netscape Navigator 3, actually) so while I have tried to keep to the original Riven Journals' incorrect and non-standard way of coding things, there has been times where I've been forced to update the code to newer standards. But I always made a comment next to it in the source code, stating exactly what I changed and why (if you're really curious, look for [RJR EDIT] in the source code). Some examples are making the sounds play in more browsers, changing the image roll-overs so they work in more browsers and renaming some of the dynamic folders on the webserver. The original Riven Journals were very complicated things using cookies and dynamically serving up some pages through SSI and CGI scripts - getting 1997 technology working on today's servers is no easy task!
I'm stuck! I can't get through this puzzle, can you help me?As much as I hate just giving out answers, if you feel like cheating, you will find the answer to the first puzzle is each flows ink. That should get you started, however you need to solve the first 4 before you can begin to tackle number 5 (a journal changes once you've completed it, then resets itself back once you try to solve another journal, so I suggest you take notes about what changes!)
I've got something to tell you!Great! Drop me a line and I'll reply when I can, if I can.
Okay, now just for a little plugging, who are you?Me, I'm just RIUM+, a devoted Myst fan living in Australia. And for the record, I first got online some time in early 1999 - long after the Riven Journals had disappeared. I've never even seen them myself; everything I restore is completely new to me. Which has made this restoration project much harder... I've been restoring a puzzle website that uses technology that isn't used any more, and I never once saw the working puzzle myself, and it also disappeared from the Internet before I even got online! Oh, and if you're still reading this, then I'll tell you now that there's an easter egg hidden within the Riven Journals - it's got a whole bunch of concept art from the original riven.com website, Riven Journals concept art, Riven concept art and other shiny stuff like that.
Also, despite having resurrected these Journals, I don't have as much free time as you might think. But I'm still not sure about where it all goes. ;)
For a larger legal disclaimer, see the contact page. I don't bite too hard. Honest.
Hand-coded in Notepad. Best viewed with . Not to be taken seriously.
If you're still reading this you must be really bored. I suggest a game of Tiddlywinks to pass the time.