The dithering on the images in Myst was pretty well-done, so even though the images in the original release of the game from 1993 were 8-bit images, they looked pretty close to their 24-bit originals. That said, I've extracted the actual image files from MME using a program called Riveal, written by another community member, and the images in MME are most definitely the 24-bit originals. I compared a couple of them to the shots RAWA has posted on a few pages on the Cho server, and also converted one of them to a 256-color GIF image, and the difference in quality is quite noticeable (had it already been a 256-color image, there shouldn't have been a drop in quality). I can upload a comparison shot if you really want one... and if you give me 2 weeks, I can get you a photo of the box back from Cyan's collection .
I should note, too, that the MME box did in fact state that the game was using the original 24-bit images, as did the official website, back in the day (unfortunately, the official website now redirects to Myst Worlds, and the Wayback Machine doesn't like saving images, which is pretty much what the entire site was made up of, and I don't happen to own a non-bundled copy of the game, or I'd have a box to scan). The videos have been re-compressed in many cases, but not really "improved" beyond that... the only instance where video dimensions actually increased was the inclusion of the new full-screen fly-bys for each Age. A similar "improved" level of video quality was introduced with the Riven DVD, though the difference is really just in the size of the compression ratio, leading to a slightly smaller fuzz to the playback. Unfortunately, there's only so much that can be done for the in-game cinematics, since they were filmed in 1992, and the source data was probably either highly compressed to begin with or simply not of terribly high quality given the budget their production had at the time. The sequences in realMYST with Atrus in them were re-filmed because they needed to integrate Atrus into a realtime room, and there was simply no way to do that with any consistency using the original source video from Myst.
Riven's images were also dithered, though I believe that was more of a space-saving decision than a read-speed decision, as the videos are all rendered in at least 16-bit color. When your game is already spanning 5 CDs because of the choice to use uncompressed BMP files for the still shots (and admittedly, I can't argue with that choice... Exile has several rather blatant areas of JPEG compression in it because the node stills were saved in a lossy file format, which looks worse in some cases even though the bit-depth is higher), saving space is an important thing. Riven's images, unlike Myst's, were each optimized individually, whereas Myst's were optimized using a single 256-color palette for each Age.
Also, you may want to check out this page in RAWA's collection of stuff for a few additional notes on the dithering applied to Myst and Riven's images.
I guess what I am seeing in my screenshots of the original Myst stills is the result of having to take the screenshot in 256 color mode of my Mac, since Myst won't run otherwise. It does look like "dithering," based on what I saw in RAWA's pics. Even though I "play it back" using Graphic Converter at 16 bits, I "recorded" it at 256 bits. MME is in 16-bit color when the screenshot is taken, so it looks much better. (Even my Mac's background screen at 640 x 480 resolution and in 256-color depth looks pretty bad. I guess I'm spoiled...)
Originally posted by johnrule:
Yes, but not one of these references is 'official'....
The publisher of at least the 26/9/2003 UK release of MME was Focus Multimedia Ltd. As noted above from their website: Myst Masterpiece Edition New Features:
ââ‚¬¢ Every graphic element has been upgraded to brilliant 24-bit colour.
ââ‚¬¢ New sound effects and an original soundtrack enhance the sense of realism.
ââ‚¬¢ Digitally remastered music heightens the gameplay experience.
ââ‚¬¢ Larger and higher quality movies and animations.
Is that, combined with Alah's "...the images in MME are most definitely the 24-bit originals", 'official' enough?
> Is that, combined with Alah's "...the images in MME are most definitely the 24-bit originals", 'official' enough?
I am not convinced (although your detective work is appreciated). I used the image extractor you mentioned first, but I also used 'RivImage' which allows you to copy the image to the clipboard. When you use this method, it is copied in (what I believe) the native resolution...256 color @ 8 bit.
Sorry to cause such a fuss, but the quality is bugging me. Take a look at the images from the link below:
I also have realMyst (PC and Mac) and the rendered quality is far superior to the still images of the (supposedly) 24 bit images in Myst. My point is that there should be NO graininess whatsoever in a 'true' 24 bit image. These artifacts can only come from conversion and compression.
The images in the last versions of Myst and Riven are 256 color @ 8 bit, possibly upconverted to 24 bit.
24-bit PNG Image comparing the extracted file from MME (which was JPEG compressed by the extractor), the same file as a 256-color GIF image with diffusion dithering, and the 256-color image from the game as provided by RAWA on his website, which was also JPG compressed, creating additional artifacting and nastiness. All three are blown up to 3x their original size to emphasize the differences.
Something to remember, when playing Myst in either its original or "Masterpiece" format, is that the game was originally created between 1991 and 1993, and MME simply uses the original 24-bit renders rather than the dithered-down 8-bit pictures. In 1993, high-resolution textures were not commonly used outside of Hollywood, and most definitely not in a garage game built by 4 people using their Macintosh computers, Photoshop 1.0, and StrataVision. As a result, you're going to see texture pixelation and stretching, even in the 24-bit original files. realMYST uses MUCH larger and higher-quality textures than were even commonly available in 1993, and as a result, it's going to look better pretty much by default (and that was kind of the intention). What you're seeing in your source image of Myst is not dithering or artifacting caused by color reduction on the final image, but simply the limitations of 1993-era consumer-level rendering software showing its limitations. No amount of color improvement can fix problems caused by low-resolution textures .
 Remember, too, that in realMYST, you have control over the level of antialiasing being used by the game as it renders, while Myst's antialiasing level was fixed at render time... in 1993. The images have NOT been re-rendered, but they ARE using the 24-bit originals... so what you're seeing in the game is the images as they were rendered in 1993, before anything else was done to them. I would think it obvious that pre-rendered stills from 1993 (especially from a garage-built game) would pale in comparison to anything from 2000, even realtime images.