Creating a Myst-like game in Unreal.

Mystic Ravine is a UDK level that focuses on exploration and puzzle solving. My goal was to experiment with many things while making this level, so I didn’t want to make another shooter level. I took inspiration from the classic Myst games to create the familiar yet abnormal world. The level features two different puzzles using shooting as the mechanic, a transition from night time to day time and a Mayan-like temple that holds a warp gate.

  • Level Design
  • Puzzle Design
  • Scripting
  • Lighting & Environment
  • Unreal Development Kit
Team Size
  • Solo
The view as you make your way out of the cave. I wanted a high contrast from night and day to really make the transition impactful.

I had more time to work on this level as compared to the levels I made in VFS, so I wanted to expand my knowledge to other parts of UDK.

  • I worked with the Material Editor to create the painting effect on the camera and the realistic water reflection for the hot spring.
  • I used Cascade to mod some particles and ended up with the steam for the waterfall and mist rising out of the hot spring.
  • I played with lighting, post processing and material swapping to create the night and day in the game.
Puzzle design

The player shoots objects to solve the two puzzles. In the first puzzle, all the lamps have to be shot on the rock walls. Like what Myst does, there are many clues to help point the player in the right direction.

The eerie looking face with glowing eyes in the darkness should catch the player’s attention.
First puzzle clues
  • The first clue is what the player sees when they first spawn into the level: a statue with glowing eyes. This curiosity will likely embed the glowing orbs into the player’s mind and they’ll take notice to more statues like this.
  • The next clue is the statue in the center of the ravine with oddly placed orbs around it. There are orange orbs and then one blue orb on the left tip of the statue.
  • The one blue orb angles in the direction of a lamp that is burnt out. The orange ones also point to lamps but they are not burnt out. Shooting each active lamp will change the orb to a blue color. Once all orbs are blue, the player can get into the cave.
The strange positions of the glowing orbs point to broken and functional lamps.
The second puzzle

The second puzzle uses a similar system. The player will find a new statue with two orbs pointing to hidden statues behind rocks. I wanted the player to explore the level, so they are rewarded by going off the beaten trail to find a statue. When the player shoots a statue, it’ll be active for a short time. The player has to activate both statues and race to the temple before time runs out. Shooting them from a distance is the key to solving the puzzle.