If you’ve played the game Riven, you might recognize this image as the view from the crater towards Gehn’s laboratory. Except that it isn’t; it’s pipework from a hydroelectric plant near Snoqualmie Falls in Washington State.

One of the interesting things about wandering the woodlands and mountains near Seattle was noticing just how much the whole area resembles the game. The wooden walkways through the woods were so Myst-like, I expected to see strange corroded metal machines. In retrospect, it’s not particularly surprising; Rand and Robyn Miller are both from Spokane, and many of the textures used in the games were obtained by travelling the west coast with a digital camera.

So until they produce a direct-to-brain full sensory interface version of Myst, a visit to Snoqualmie, Mount Rainier and the Cascade Mountains is highly recommended.

Myst III: Exile is shipping. I will try to resist the urge to purchase it on sight. I will probably fail, because I’ve seen some movies of the gameplay.

Riven was the most beautiful piece of art I’ve ever seen on a computer. I’ve played it right through twice, and will probably go back and play it a third time. Myst III basically takes a Riven-like world and makes it fully 3D, so you can rotate to any angle. When technology advances far enough to produce fully immersive 3D worlds via neural interface, the Myst series is going to produce some serious social problems.