gehn's crestProminently displayed in a number of places throughout Riven is Gehn's crest. This crest has great meaning for Gehn. It's basic design is an imitation of the old D'ni Guild Badges. These badges were made up of a variety of symbols that conveyed the purpose of that particular guild to all. These badges were worn by guildsmen on their cloaks. Guild buildings also had huge pentagonal stone shields decorated with these symbols hanging in plain view.
When 'designing' his symbol, Gehn borrowed symbols from these badges. Since the number five was so deeply imbedded in the D'ni culture, Gehn has latched onto it, claiming that it contains some special powers. Firstly, like the guildgehn's crest badges, Gehn's crest is basically pentagonal in shape. Also, in the very centre, can be found the D'ni symbol for the number five. Radiating out from this centre are five identical 'arms'. Each 'arm' contains symbols indicating Gehn's book making/writing activities. Closest to the centre are five leaves representing the trees from which the paper and books are made. Next are five pen nibs, used to write the ages into the books. These pen nibs are then pointing at the five open books positioned on the outer rim of the crest.

bridgesThe MagLev is quite an interesting transportation system. Like most of Gehn's devices it has an industrial look about it that is quite at odds with it's surroundings and in complete contrast to the earthy constructions of the villagers. However the islands of Riven weren't always connected by this MagLev system. Originally all the islands had long bridges spanning between them. Tectonic plate shifts meant that the bridges were in constant need of repair and were quickly becoming useless for such long spans. With Gehn's personality, this simply wasn't good enough. He had to feel like he was in control of his world. And so, he went about designing a transportation system that would span the distances between the islands quickly, and one that would not need constant repair. The only bridge left is that connecting Temple Island to Book Assembly Island.

maglevThe MagLev works on a system of magnetic levitation (hence the name). The D'ni favoured raw forms of energy, such as magnetism. It was a quick, clean propulsion system and fit in both with their technology and the D'ni's refined aesthetic sense. For these reasons, Gehn chose to use this system for his transport. To each side of the main body are two large magnetic coils. When these are powered up they lift the MagLev above the track, making it 'float' on air and maglev enginetherefore nullifying the affects of friction. However, Gehn still needed a propulsion system to 'push' his MagLev. To this end he placed a large engine above the cabin that would fire up as it left the station and bring the MagLev up to speed quickly. This engine wasn't as clean as the magnetic system and spewed some pollutants out the back, which combined with its heat, left some nasty stains around the Book Assembly Island station.

When the MagLev comes to rest at a station it has small 'legs' support legsthat fold out from the coils and rest on the tracks. When it takes off again these legs fold back up preventing damage. The interior of the MagLev has been designed to only carry one person and is quite compact, it could carry one or two passengers in the back half if they squeezed in though. Its use has been restricted exclusively to Gehn and his Guild members, but now that Gehn has, as he puts it, "...a civilized mode of transport." in the form of his linking books, he very rarely uses the MagLevs.

concept sketchWhen designing the MagLev, and all of Riven for that case, a great deal of consideration went into how things would fit into their environment. Since the MagLev was one of Gehn's creations, Richard Vander Wende designed it to reflect Gehn's personality. This meant that it would have the same low-tech Victorian feel to it as his other constructions. With this in mind Richard Vander Wende drew inspiration from Victorian-era steam concept sketchlocomotives and pictures of weird, bulbous World War II air-planes to achieve that authentic look. This is what Richard said he wanted the MagLev to represent.. "when the player enters the depot, it's empty. He pushes a button and this thing - this deluxe elevator - comes gliding in. It rolls around, settles itself and swings open the door, beckoning the player to enter. This is essentially the mechanical version of the Wahrk. I wanted it to feel alive." Here are also some of Richard's earlier concept sketches for the MagLev.

birdbirdIn a couple of places in Riven you may come across some birds flying in the sky. Although they're not exactly important to the game or the story they certainly do add to Riven's atmosphere and realism. The first place you'll find these birds are around the cleared area near the jungle. The first will appear in the distance as you climb the steps leading birdup from the Sunner lagoon. After that you should see some on your right as you cross the bridge and in a few places around the cleared area itself.

birdThe next place to look for some birds is when you climb out of the pipe on Book Assembly Island. Hanging around this back path are a few seagulls (which makes me wonder why it isn't covered in droppings :o). None birdof these birds will appear every time, and some may not appear at all, you just have to keep wandering around with your eyes peeled. If you don't want to wait you can use Riveal to see them, but it doesn't have the same effect as when you stumble across them in the game.

Since a lot of the information I have put up here is based on my own interpretations, some of it may be incorrect. If you think there is a problem with anything here, please fill out this form, and send it to me. Or, if you have anything that you think I should add, also please fill out this form. Thank you.

Last update, 26-oct-1999 author:Stewart Bradford
temple island
jungle island
book assembly island
survey island
prison island
tay (rebel age)
gehn's 233rd age
misc. information
easter eggs

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