WARNING: The following is FULL of Dni Legacy SPOILERS. Only read on if youve finished the game or dont care about spoiling the story.
Written by Bobby Kanaeaupuni, Project Director.
My good friend Bob OBrien and I had just completed Myst. What can I say? Like most of you we were awestruck. A whole new realm had been opened before us.
Being the creative type, I got this insane idea that we could actually create a game like Myst (We were 13 and very unskilled at the time). We originally tried creating game images with Windows paint. The best images we made composed of really ugly red boxes and yellow stripes. The project never got anywhere.
Over the years I had been playing around with HTML, various graphics programs, and making videos.
The Myst books had been released, and the history of the Dni was open to those who were interested.
I had sat down at my computer for the evening and opened the 3D program Bryce 3D. Decided my influence for this session would be Kveer, an island within the main Dni Cavern.
Rendering on a Pentium 133 takes a lot of time. While rendering Kveer, I stared at the blurry image as it got sharper with each rendering cycle. As the image grew sharper, so did an idea in the back of my mind.
What would it take to create a complete game based on Myst/Riven/Dni Lore? I could model it in Bryce, Truespace, use Photoshop for texturing, and use HTML to integrate it all together.
The task seemed easy enough. At the time I had no clue what I was getting myself into.
I wasnt interested in just making Ages. I wanted to make a story. A story closely connected to the Ages we would create.
Fan fiction has always creeped me out. I did not want to use Cyans characters. Controlling other peoples characters has always seemed terribly wrong to me. I only wanted to borrow the lore, the history of Dni, and their abilities to enter worlds with the simple touch of a page.
The three main characters of Dni Legacy became Agmis, Noira, and Kaastor. I wanted to create a coming of age story, with a touch of romance, a conflict, and redemption.
I recruited my partner in entertainment crime, Bob OBrien, and Rebecca Hulbert to help me piece together the story and write the journals that would make the game come to life.
The story of Dni Legacy came so naturally it felt like these people did exist and we were simply channeling their lives so that others may discover them.
The characters were sketched out as well as a timeline of the events which had unfolded before the players journey began.
Agmis A young Dni. Agmis had lived a wealthy and protected life, until the death of the city and his family. Noira helps him survive through his depression, naturally building a close relationship. Agmis is a dreamer and an idealist, so when the problems with Kaastor arise, hes at a complete loss.
Noira A native to the island of Gaelin. She has a mind that has outgrown the small island she grew up on. Agmis opens new worlds to her, through their journeys they begin a strong romance. Noira is more of a realist than Agmis. When Kaastor becomes a threat to their lives, she makes it her mission to keep Agmis safe.
Kaasstor Is the tragic character of Dni Legacy. He had always dreamed of becoming part of the Writers Guild in the City of Dni. Alas, he lacks the skill and ability to write worlds. After the fall of Dni he is only able to escape to a lonely isolated ice age. Trapped for years. He attempted to write new ages but his projects always result in failures and dead ages. Noira is the first woman he meets in years, instantly falling in love with her. His love becomes an obsession which threatens both Agmis and Noira. In his last few moments, Kaastor realizes how much destruction he has brought into their lives, and attempts one last penance. Sacrificing his life for theirs.
Structure in all things.
Being the obsessive director type, I work deeply into structure with anything I create.
The journals were a key element to creating a great non-linear story. Each of the main ages held a journal from one of our main characters. We kept the story dynamic and different for every player, by giving them the freedom to choose which age and journal they would see first. The people who read Kaastors journal first might have thought he was the protagonist, only to be alarmed when discovering his true deeds and how the other characters saw him. The story would unfold differently for every player depending on which journal they would read next.
The dynamic integration of the journals is just one of many elements that adds to the immersive experience. We took the "Riven" approach to the design of our worlds. We gave every element in the game a link to the larger purpose of our story. Ages, symbols, props, and placement were all carefully planned to connect the world of D'ni Legacy to it's characters.
Every visual detail furthers the story of Agmis, Noira and K'aastor.
Now this is the thing that drives the Myst/Riven/Dni community forward.
The dream, to write portals to other worlds. Its the hook, line, and sinker. For most of us its what we find most appealing about the Dni lore. It is the inspiration for fan-made ages and fan fiction.
Ive seen a great many ages, and fantastic artwork by fans. However, Im a storyteller.
I didnt want to create a simple neat-o age for the single purpose of looking pretty. I wanted to create ages that had a link to the characters and story of Dni Legacy. Every Age in Dni Legacy has a purpose. They are a visual chronicle of the characters lives.
Geairram This age holds considerable personal value to Agmis and Noira. Agmis wrote this age to her as a wedding gift. Noira eventually searched the star constellations in this age, discovering what she would deem as the symbol of herself. The components of Noiras symbol are used to open the door to the Star Room. Her symbol can also be seen on her journal in the age of Alev.
Gaelin This is Noiras home. It is where Agmis finds refuge after the fall of the city. The purple linking book in the Book Room leads to one of two islands in the age. Secondly, the brown book in the Book Room leads to the main island of Gaelin, just outside the Store Room, where various writing tools are kept by Agmis and Noira.
Cissar Was a collaboration between Agmis and Noira, they created the link to a world where a peaceful people built great marble buildings and greeted them with open arms, a testament to their love. Kaastor flipped through the pages of the Age, and thought there was a flaw within the writings. Kaastor attempted to fix Cissar be rewriting lines inside of the book. While Agmis searched for Noira, he entered Cissar, but not the way he had left it. Kaastors changes had flooded Cissar and killed all those who lived there. Heartbroken, Agmis left the age to discover how these terrible wrongs had been done.
Taiga This was Kaastors refuge after the fall of Dni. An age that was no more than a single iceberg adrift in freezing waters. All alone, he attempted to write ages flourishing with life. However his writing skills were never efficient enough to create a link. Kaastor hid in this age for years until his loneliness forced him to see if Dni was safe once again, even if it would cost him his life.
Alev An age that Noira wrote where she could be completely alone when she felt overwhelmed. Her brother, other Gaelin natives, and Agmis built her a boat in which she could travel the vast waters of the Age.
Amerak This linking book is found on the Store Room table beside another book leading to Elanif. Amerak was Agmis family age. Written countless years ago, and passed down generation from generation. This was the most beautiful of ages, it was Agmis legacy. Until Kaastor tampered with the writings, then the age slowly ripped itself apart. This is where the last stand between Agmis, Noira, and Kaastor takes place (as mentioned in Agmis final journal). When the player comes across the linking book, the age has already been ravaged. Linking to Amerak will take you to there, with no hope for return.
Elanif - This is the final age of Dni Legacy. After the events which took place in Amerak, Agmis and Noira safely linked here. Agmis previously locked away the only linking book inside a nara capsule, to protect it from Kaastor. However since Agmis was forced to link there without prior knowledge, he didnt bring the key to the capsule with him. Luckily it is a safe age, where they can happily spend the days together alone, hoping a friend will arrive with the key to release them.
Here started the most intense project I had ever begun. I had 7 ages to build, and get them done within my lifetime.
Dni Legacy was primarily created in Truespace 4. Truespace is a 3D program mostly used for object modeling. I later learned that it wasnt the best software for creating world-scapes. So I used Bryce 3D in the task of creating the exteriors of several ages.
I would sketch out an Age on a piece of paper, then I would find its importance in the story; what it meant to the characters on an emotional level, and develop its structure from there.
Then I would spend several weekends developing my sketches into 3D worlds. I had never done much 3D modeling before. It had been just something I would do when I was bored. Developing Dni Legacy taught me most of the things I understand about 3D technology. Some of the ages look better than others, thats because I simply got better at it as time went on.
Most of the modeling was done by myself, however I needed help with the exterior of Geairram. Modeling and rendering on a p133 set many many limits. I begged my friend Andrew Mullen to lend me his time, skill, and computer to create the hardware intensive opening to Geairram, it took a whole day but we were able to create the linking image and entrance to the observatory.
Andrew also helped me with the photo shoot. The Finale to Dni Legacy was one of the last things planned. I was chatting with Bob OBrien over the net, he asked me Wait, the outline it says the player gives Agmis the key. So are we going to have someone be Agmis? I tried avoiding it. But it was inevitable. I would have to pull a Rand Miller and play the part of Agmis in a bluescreen photoshoot. Oh the vanity!
Ideally the player would meet both Agmis and Noira. Unfortunately our Noira was stationed in the England while I was in California, at the time we were teenagers too poor to afford plane tickets. Substitutes were not an option!
After nearly 5 months of production. Dni Legacy was ready for release. The ages had been rendered, and images integrated into HTML. Last on the list was to make sure everything worked. I recruited several members from the Riven Lyst to beta test the game for me, they gave great feedback as to bugs, journal typos, etc..
In early 1998 I took one deep, final, breath and released Dni Legacy to the world.
In 1999 we were contacted by a composer by the name of Mark Germani. Mark had an interest in the games Myst and Riven, he was also fond of Robyn Millers musical score for both games.
Mark had come across Dni Legacy and noticed something we didnt have any music! Since then Mark Germani embarked on a journey to compose over 30 minutes of original music to Dni Legacy.
After I listened to Marks original compositions for the play The Magic Stone, Ive been a fan of his ever since.
He has brought Dni Legacy to life with a score than connects to the heart of our story. From the starry romantic theme of Geairram to the icy chords of Taiga.
We look forward to working with Mark and future projects for many years to come.
(Mark also has more information on the D'ni Legacy score in the "Music" section, be sure to check it out!)
Look Ma, no web browser!
One day I opened my e-mail to reveal an e-mail from Stijn Arnauts. Attached was a link to a program he had created in Visual Basic. Stijn had re-created Dni Legacy entirely inside of a windows executable program. I was astonished!
Stijn had done an excellent job of recompiling the game so windows users didnt need to use their web browser to play.
Stijn's executable version looked so great, he inspired a secondary revolution to the re-release. To take full advantage of the program format, we added more sounds, new images, and recreated the look of the journals so they felt more authentic than the originals did.
Thanks to Stijn Dni Legacy is officially a real game. Feel free to burn Dni Legacy on CD and show it to all your friends!
The original Dni portion in the game looked bad. It looked real bad. In later 2000 I opened up 3D Studio Max and began constructing what would be the new opening to Dni Legacy. The book room was also redone, as well as a few linking book graphics within the other ages to keep continuity. To say the very least the new Dni looks much better.
In the Summer of 2001 Dni Legacy was re-released. With over 30 minutes of original music by Mark Germani, a full windows executable by Stijn Arnauts, and an all new opening.
Has their tale truly come to an end? While we at Venturequest Intertainment have moved on to bigger and newer things Agmis and Noira may one day be in need of your help once again.